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In order to halt further biodiversity loss in the agricultural landscape, measures for grassland management extensification have been proposed and implemented. Apart from biodiversity conservation and enhancement, these measures are expected to affect a range of ecosystem services delivered by these grasslands. It is well-known that grasslands have the potential to contribute to the delivery of multiple ecosystem services, but there generally is a trade-off between provisioning services and regulating services, which is strongly linked to grassland management. This study investigated the effect of the extensification of grassland management on multiple ecosystem service and biodiversity indicators. To do so, two sets of grasslands in Flanders with varying management types were monitored: a regular, intensive management, a meadow bird management and a botanical management. For every monitored grassland, a land use intensity index was calculated and linked to the ecosystem service and biodiversity indicators. The results showed that biomass yield, forage quality, soil mineral N content and number of plant species differed among the various management types and that increasing land use intensity resulted in higher biomass yields, forage quality and soil mineral N content and in a lower number of plant species. However, it was observed that other factors such as the timing of the first cut affected these variables as well. A literature review was subsequently performed to quantify the link between land use intensity of other temperate grasslands and the same response variables. Results of the literature review confirmed the trends that were found in the monitoring data, but an additional effect of manure and slurry application on soil carbon stock was noted. Taken together, the results suggest that the impact of grassland management in terms of fertilization, mowing and grazing on the selected ecosystem service delivery and biodiversity indicators can be predicted, but that other management components should be considered as well.

Originele taal-2Engels
TijdschriftAgriculture Ecosystems & Environment
Pagina's (van-tot)201-212
StatusGepubliceerd - 15-nov-2018

ID: 7498150