Staff Publications

Staff Publications

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    'Staff publications' is the digital repository of Wageningen University & Research

    'Staff publications' contains references to publications authored by Wageningen University staff from 1976 onward.

    Publications authored by the staff of the Research Institutes are available from 1995 onwards.

    Full text documents are added when available. The database is updated daily and currently holds about 240,000 items, of which 72,000 in open access.

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    Intensive agriculture reduces soil biodiversity across Europe
    Tsiafouli, M.A. ; Thébault, E. ; Sgardelis, S. ; Ruiter, P.C. de; Putten, W.H. van der; Birkhofer, K. ; Hemerik, L. ; Vries, F.T. de; Bardgett, R.D. ; Brady, M. ; Bjornlund, L. ; Bracht Jörgensen, H. ; Christensen, S. ; Herfelt, T. D'; Hotes, S. ; Hol, W.H.G. ; Frouz, J. ; Liiri, M. ; Mortimer, S.R. ; Setälä, H. ; Stary, J. ; Tzanopoulos, J. ; Uteseny, C. ; Wolters, V. ; Hedlund, K. - \ 2015
    Global Change Biology 21 (2015)2. - ISSN 1354-1013 - p. 973 - 985.
    food-web structure - land-use intensity - taxonomic distinctness - community structure - phylogenetic diversity - arthropod communities - temporal variability - 7-year period - ecosystem - management
    Soil biodiversity plays a key role in regulating the processes that underpin the delivery of ecosystem goods and services in terrestrial ecosystems. Agricultural intensification is known to change the diversity of individual groups of soil biota, but less is known about how intensification affects biodiversity of the soil food web as a whole, and whether or not these effects may be generalized across regions. We examined biodiversity in soil food webs from grasslands, extensive, and intensive rotations in four agricultural regions across Europe: in Sweden, the UK, the Czech Republic and Greece. Effects of land-use intensity were quantified based on structure and diversity among functional groups in the soil food web, as well as on community-weighted mean body mass of soil fauna. We also elucidate land-use intensity effects on diversity of taxonomic units within taxonomic groups of soil fauna. We found that between regions soil food web diversity measures were variable, but that increasing land-use intensity caused highly consistent responses. In particular, land-use intensification reduced the complexity in the soil food webs, as well as the community-weighted mean body mass of soil fauna. In all regions across Europe, species richness of earthworms, Collembolans, and oribatid mites was negatively affected by increased land-use intensity. The taxonomic distinctness, which is a measure of taxonomic relatedness of species in a community that is independent of species richness, was also reduced by land-use intensification. We conclude that intensive agriculture reduces soil biodiversity, making soil food webs less diverse and composed of smaller bodied organisms. Land-use intensification results in fewer functional groups of soil biota with fewer and taxonomically more closely related species. We discuss how these changes in soil biodiversity due to land-use intensification may threaten the functioning of soil in agricultural production systems.
    Urban and agricultural soils: conflicts and trade-offs in the optimization of ecosystem services
    Setälä, H. ; Bardgett, R.D. ; Birkhofer, K. ; Brady, M. ; Byrne, L. ; Ruiter, P.C. de; Vries, F.T. de; Gardi, C. ; Hedlund, K. ; Hemerik, A. ; Hotes, S. ; Liiri, M. ; Mortimer, S.R. ; Pavao-Zuckerman, M. ; Pouyat, R. ; Tsiafouli, M. ; Putten, W.H. van der - \ 2014
    Urban Ecosystems 17 (2014)1. - ISSN 1083-8155 - p. 239 - 253.
    biological-control - land-use - functional composition - united-states - landscapes - conservation - impact - carbon - infrastructure - sustainability
    On-going human population growth and changing patterns of resource consumption are increasing global demand for ecosystem services, many of which are provided by soils. Some of these ecosystem services are linearly related to the surface area of pervious soil, whereas others show non-linear relationships, making ecosystem service optimization a complex task. As limited land availability creates conflicting demands among various types of land use, a central challenge is how to weigh these conflicting interests and how to achieve the best solutions possible from a perspective of sustainable societal development. These conflicting interests become most apparent in soils that are the most heavily used by humans for specific purposes: urban soils used for green spaces, housing, and other infrastructure and agricultural soils for producing food, fibres and biofuels. We argue that, despite their seemingly divergent uses of land, agricultural and urban soils share common features with regards to interactions between ecosystem services, and that the trade-offs associated with decision-making, while scale- and context-dependent, can be surprisingly similar between the two systems. We propose that the trade-offs within land use types and their soil-related ecosystems services are often disproportional, and quantifying these will enable ecologists and soil scientists to help policy makers optimizing management decisions when confronted with demands for multiple services under limited land availability.
    Soil food web properties explain ecosystem services across European land use systems
    Vries, F.T. de; Thebault, E.M.C. ; Liiri, M. ; Birkhofer, K. ; Tsiafouli, M. ; Bjornlund, L. ; Jorgensen, H.B. ; Brady, M.V. ; Christensen, S. ; Ruiter, P.C. de; Hertefeldt, T. d'; Frouz, J. ; Hedlund, K. ; Hemerik, L. ; Hol, W.H.G. ; Hotes, S. ; Mortimer, S.R. ; Setälä, H. ; Sgardelis, S.P. ; Uteseny, K. ; Putten, W.H. van der; Wolters, V. ; Bardgett, R.D. - \ 2013
    Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 110 (2013)35. - ISSN 0027-8424 - p. 14296 - 14301.
    nitrogen mineralization - carbon sequestration - bacterial community - mycorrhizal fungi - biomass - scale - intensification - decomposition - biodiversity - agriculture
    Intensive land use reduces the diversity and abundance of many soil biota, with consequences for the processes that they govern and the ecosystem services that these processes underpin. Relationships between soil biota and ecosystem processes have mostly been found in laboratory experiments and rarely are found in the field. Here, we quantified, across four countries of contrasting climatic and soil conditions in Europe, how differences in soil food web composition resulting from land use systems (intensive wheat rotation, extensive rotation, and permanent grassland) influence the functioning of soils and the ecosystem services that they deliver. Intensive wheat rotation consistently reduced the biomass of all components of the soil food web across all countries. Soil food web properties strongly and consistently predicted processes of C and N cycling across land use systems and geographic locations, and they were a better predictor of these processes than land use. Processes of carbon loss increased with soil food web properties that correlated with soil C content, such as earthworm biomass and fungal/bacterial energy channel ratio, and were greatest in permanent grassland. In contrast, processes of N cycling were explained by soil food web properties independent of land use, such as arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi and bacterial channel biomass. Our quantification of the contribution of soil organisms to processes of C and N cycling across land use systems and geographic locations shows that soil biota need to be included in C and N cycling models and highlights the need to map and conserve soil biodiversity across the world.
    Long-term organic farming fosters below and aboveground biota: Implications for soil quality, biological control and productivity
    Birkhofer, K. ; Bezemer, T.M. ; Bloem, J. ; Bonkowski, M. ; Christensen, S. ; Dubois, D. ; Ekelund, F. ; Fliessbach, A. ; Gunst, L. ; Hedlund, K. ; Mäder, P. ; Mikola, J. ; Robin, C. ; Setälä, H. ; Tatin-Froux, F. ; Putten, W.H. van der; Scheu, S. - \ 2008
    Soil Biology and Biochemistry 40 (2008)9. - ISSN 0038-0717 - p. 2297 - 2308.
    microbial community structure - food-web - agricultural systems - generalist predators - mycorrhizal fungi - alternative prey - biomass - nitrogen - agroecosystems - management
    Organic farming may contribute substantially to future agricultural production worldwide by improving soil quality and pest control, thereby reducing environmental impacts of conventional farming. We investigated in a comprehensive way soil chemical, as well as below and aboveground biological parameters of two organic and two conventional wheat farming systems that primarily differed in fertilization and weed management strategies. Contrast analyses identified management related differences between ¿herbicide-free¿ bioorganic (BIOORG) and biodynamic (BIODYN) systems and conventional systems with (CONFYM) or without manure (CONMIN) and herbicide application within a long-term agricultural experiment (DOK trial, Switzerland). Soil carbon content was significantly higher in systems receiving farmyard manure and concomitantly microbial biomass (fungi and bacteria) was increased. Microbial activity parameters, such as microbial basal respiration and nitrogen mineralization, showed an opposite pattern, suggesting that soil carbon in the conventional system (CONFYM) was more easily accessible to microorganisms than in organic systems. Bacterivorous nematodes and earthworms were most abundant in systems that received farmyard manure, which is in line with the responses of their potential food sources (microbes and organic matter). Mineral fertilizer application detrimentally affected enchytraeids and Diptera larvae, whereas aphids benefited. Spider abundance was favoured by organic management, most likely a response to increased prey availability from the belowground subsystem or increased weed coverage. In contrast to most soil-based, bottom-up controlled interactions, the twofold higher abundance of this generalist predator group in organic systems likely contributed to the significantly lower abundance of aboveground herbivore pests (aphids) in these systems. Long-term organic farming and the application of farmyard manure promoted soil quality, microbial biomass and fostered natural enemies and ecosystem engineers, suggesting enhanced nutrient cycling and pest control. Mineral fertilizers and herbicide application, in contrast, affected the potential for top-down control of aboveground pests negatively and reduced the organic carbon levels. Our study indicates that the use of synthetic fertilizers and herbicide application changes interactions within and between below and aboveground components, ultimately promoting negative environmental impacts of agriculture by reducing internal biological cycles and pest control. On the contrary, organic farming fosters microbial and faunal decomposers and this propagates into the aboveground system via generalist predators thereby increasing conservation biological control. However, grain and straw yields were 23% higher in systems receiving mineral fertilizers and herbicides reflecting the trade-off between productivity and environmental responsibility.
    Bacterial traits, organism mass, and numerical abundance in the detrital soil food web of Dutch agricultural grasslands
    Mulder, C. ; Cohen, J.E. ; Setälä, H. ; Bloem, J. ; Breure, A.M. - \ 2005
    Ecology Letters 8 (2005)1. - ISSN 1461-023X - p. 80 - 90.
    respiratory quotient - species-diversity - trophic links - plant-growth - body-mass - biodiversity - nematodes - community - dynamics - fungi
    This paper compares responses to environmental stress of the ecophysiological traits of organisms in the detrital soil food webs of grasslands in the Netherlands, using the relationship between average body mass M and numerical abundance N. The microbial biomass and biodiversity of belowground fauna were measured in 110 grasslands on sand, 85 of them farmed under organic, conventional and intensive management. Bacterial cell volume and abundance and electrophoretic DNA bands as well as bacterial activity in the form of either metabolic quotient (qCO2) or microbial quotient (Cmic/Corg) predicted the response of microorganisms to stress. For soil fauna, the logarithm of body mass log(M) was approximately linearly related to the logarithm of numerical abundance log(N) with slope near -1, and the regression slope and the proportion of predatory species were lower in intensive agroecosystems (more reduced substrates with higher energy content). Linear regression of log(N) on log(M) had slope not far from -3/4. The approach to monitoring data illustrated in this paper could be useful in assessing land-use quality.
    Ecological linkages between aboveground and belowground biota
    Wardle, D.A. ; Bardgett, R.D. ; Klironomos, J.N. ; Setälä, H. ; Putten, W.H. van der; Wall, D.H. - \ 2004
    Science 304 (2004)5677. - ISSN 0036-8075 - p. 1629 - 1633.
    arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi - plant community structure - elevated carbon-dioxide - soil biota - host-plant - ecosystem properties - species-diversity - boreal forests - nitrogen - grassland
    All terrestrial ecosystems consist of aboveground and belowground components that interact to influence community- and ecosystem-level processes and properties. Here we show how these components are closely interlinked at the community level, reinforced by a greater degree of specificity between plants and soil organisms than has been previously supposed. As such, aboveground and belowground communities can be powerful mutual drivers, with both positive and negative feedbacks. A combined aboveground-belowground approach to community and ecosystem ecology is enhancing our understanding of the regulation and functional significance of biodiversity and of the environmental impacts of human-induced global change phenomena.
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