Impacts of grazing abandonment on ecosystem service provision: Coastal grassland as a model system

Hilary Ford, Angus Garbutt, Davey L. Jones, Laurence Jones

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

40 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

A coastal grassland was used as a model system to examine how grazing management, un-grazed (for six years), rabbit grazed or fully grazed (ponies 0.2ha-1, cattle 0.05ha-1 and rabbits 45ha-1), affected biodiversity and ecosystem service provision, by measuring an extensive suite of biophysical variables as proxies for ecosystem services. For 'supporting services', nutrient cycling was greatest in un-grazed grassland but primary productivity did not differ. The 'provisioning service' of food production was only provided by fully grazed grassland. For grazing effects on 'regulating services' total carbon (C) stock did not differ and effects on pest regulating invertebrates and pollinator abundance were variable. The potential for flood control was considered greatest in the un-grazed grassland; with faster water infiltration than in the fully grazed grassland. The 'cultural service' of environmental appreciation was considered higher in fully grazed grassland due to significantly greater plant species richness, more forb species and more forbs flowering than in un-grazed grassland.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)108-115
Number of pages8
JournalAgriculture, Ecosystems and Environment
Volume162
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2012
Externally publishedYes

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