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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    Changes in the waterbird community of the Parc National du Banc d’Arguin, Mauritania, 1980–2017
    Oudman, Thomas ; Schekkerman, Hans ; Kidee, Amadou ; Roomen, Marc Van; Camara, Mohamed ; Smit, Cor ; Horn, Job Ten; Piersma, Theunis ; El-Hacen, El-Hacen Mohamed - \ 2019
    Bird Conservation International (2019). - ISSN 0959-2709 - p. 1 - 16.
    banc-darguin - bird census - global change - east atlantic flyways - NMDS - population decline - shorebirds - waterbird community
    The Parc National du Banc d’Arguin in Mauritania hosts the largest concentrations of coastal waterbirds along the East Atlantic Flyway. In spite of this importance, a review of the changes in the numbers of waterbirds in the area is lacking since the first complete count in 1980. Here we analysed the seven complete waterbird counts made since then, and the additional yearly counts made in one subunit (Iwik region) since 2003.We present evidence for changes in the community composition of waterbirds over the past four decades. Total waterbird numbers showed a decrease between 1980 and 2017, with only Great White Pelican Pelecanus onocrotalus showing a significant
    increase in numbers. Five species showed significant declines: Long-tailed Cormorant Phalacrocorax africanus, Red Knot Calidris canutus, Bar-tailed Godwit Limosa lapponica, Eurasian Curlew Numenius arquata, and Western Marsh Harrier Circus aeruginosus. In the remaining species, the variation in numbers between counts was too large, and the number of complete counts too small, for trends to be detected. The yearly counts at Iwik region also showed sharp decreases in the numbers of Red Knot, Bar-tailed Godwit, and Marsh Harrier, but not of Long-tailed Cormorant and Eurasian Curlew. A multivariate analysis revealed a significant effect of year on species composition, which was caused mainly by changes in the species depending on the intertidal mudflats for feeding (generally in decline) vs. the species depending on fish and crustaceans in the sublittoral and offshore zones (often showing increases).
    Impacts of nitrogen addition on plant species richness and abundance : A global meta-analysis
    Midolo, Gabriele ; Alkemade, Rob ; Schipper, Aafke M. ; Benítez-López, Ana ; Perring, Michael P. ; Vries, Wim de - \ 2019
    Global Ecology and Biogeography 28 (2019)3. - ISSN 1466-822X - p. 398 - 413.
    anthropogenic impacts - biodiversity - eutrophication - global change - GLOBIO - soil acidification - vegetation

    Aim: Experimental nitrogen (N) addition (fertilization) studies are commonly used to quantify the impacts of increased N inputs on plant biodiversity. However, given that plant community responses can vary considerably among individual studies, there is a clear need to synthesize and generalize findings with meta-analytical approaches. Our goal was to quantify changes in species richness and abundance in plant communities in response to N addition across different environmental contexts, while controlling for different experimental designs. Location: Global. Time period: Data range: 1985–2016; Publication years: 1990–2018. Major taxa studied: Plants. Methods: We performed a meta-analysis of 115 experiments reported in 85 studies assessing the effects of N addition on terrestrial natural and semi-natural plant communities. We quantified local-scale changes in plant biodiversity in relationship to N addition using four metrics: species richness (SR), individual species abundance (IA), mean species abundance (MSA) and geometric mean abundance (GMA). Results: For all metrics, greater amounts of annual N addition resulted in larger declines in plant diversity. Additionally, MSA decreased more steeply with N that was applied in reduced (NH4 +) rather than oxidized ((NO 3)) form. Loss of SR with increasing amounts of N was found to be larger in warmer sites. Furthermore, greater losses of SR were found in sites with longer experimental durations, smaller plot sizes and lower soil cation exchange capacity. Finally, reductions in the abundance of individual species were larger for N-sensitive plant life-form types (legumes and non-vascular plants). Main conclusions: N enrichment decreases both SR and abundance of plants in N-addition experiments, but the magnitude of the response differs among biodiversity metrics and with the environmental and experimental context. This underlines the importance of integrating multiple dimensions of biodiversity and relevant modifying factors into assessments of biodiversity responses to global environmental change.

    Network Analyses Can Advance Above-Belowground Ecology
    Ramirez, Kelly S. ; Geisen, Stefan ; Morriën, Elly ; Snoek, Basten L. ; Putten, Wim H. van der - \ 2018
    Trends in Plant Science 23 (2018)9. - ISSN 1360-1385 - p. 759 - 768.
    community ecology - global change - species interactions - terrestrial ecology

    An understanding of above-belowground (AG-BG) ecology is important for evaluating how plant interactions with enemies, symbionts, and decomposers affect species diversity and will respond to global changes. However, research questions and experiments often focus on only a limited number of interactions, creating an incomplete picture of how entire communities may be involved in AG-BG community ecology. Therefore, a pressing challenge is to formulate hypotheses of AG-BG interactions when considering communities in their full complexity. Here we discuss how network analyses can be a powerful tool to progress AG-BG research, link across scales from individual to community and ecosystem, visualize community interactions between the two (AG and BG) subsystems, and develop testable hypotheses.

    Predicting the abundance of forest types across the eastern United States through inverse modelling of tree demography
    Vanderwel, Mark C. ; Rozendaal, Danaë M.A. ; Evans, Margaret E.K. - \ 2017
    Ecological Applications 27 (2017)7. - ISSN 1051-0761 - p. 2128 - 2141.
    CAIN - demography - forest dynamics - global change - inverse modelling - range modelling - species distribution

    Global environmental change is expected to induce widespread changes in the geographic distribution and biomass of forest communities. Impacts have been projected from both empirical (statistical) and mechanistic (physiology-based) modelling approaches, but there remains an important gap in accurately predicting abundance across species' ranges from spatial variation in individual-level demographic processes. We address this issue by using a cohort-based forest dynamics model (CAIN) to predict spatial variation in the abundance of six plant functional types (PFTs) across the eastern United States. The model simulates tree-level growth, mortality, and recruitment, which we parameterized from data on both individual-level demographic rates and population-level abundance using Bayesian inverse modelling. Across a set of 1 grid cells, we calibrated local growth, mortality, and recruitment rates for each PFT to obtain a close match between predicted age-specific PFT basal area in forest stands and that observed in 46,603 Forest Inventory and Analysis plots. The resulting models produced a strong fit to PFT basal area across the region (R2 = 0.66-0.87), captured successional changes in PFT composition with stand age, and predicted the overall stem diameter distribution well. The mortality rates needed to accurately predict basal area were consistently higher than observed mortality, possibly because sampling effects led to biased individual-level mortality estimates across spatially heterogeneous plots. Growth and recruitment rates did not show consistent directional changes from observed values. Relative basal area was most strongly influenced by recruitment processes, but the effects of growth and mortality tended to increase as stands matured. Our study illustrates how both top-down (population-level) and bottom-up (individual-level) data can be combined to predict variation in abundance from size, environmental, and competitive effects on tree demography. Evidence for how demographic processes influence variation in abundance, as provided by our model, can help in understanding how these forests may respond to future environmental change.

    The 2016 release of the PREDICTS database
    Hudson, Lawrence N. ; Newbold, Tim ; Contu, Sara ; Hill, Samantha L.L. ; Lysenko, Igor ; Palma, Adriana De; Phillips, Helen R.P. ; Alhusseini, Tamera I. ; Bedford, Felicity E. ; Bennett, Dominic J. ; Bugter, R.J.F. - \ 2016
    Natural History Museum, London
    alpha diversity - global diversity modelling - global change - habitat destruction - land cover - land use - terrestrial biodiversity
    Data from: Molecular biogeography of prickly lettuce (Lactuca serriola L.) shows traces of recent range expansion
    Andrea, L. D'; Meirmans, Patrick ; Wiel, C.C.M. van de; Guadagnuolo, Roberto ; Treuren, R. van; Kozlowski, Gregor ; Nijs, Hans den; Felber, F. - \ 2016
    Wageningen University & Research
    biogeography - microsatellites - chloroplast PCR-RFLP - population genetics - global change - population structure - phylogeography
    Microsatellite data in GenePop format for Lactuca serriola in Europe
    Old-growth Neotropical forests are shifting in species and trait composition
    Sande, M.T. van der; Arets, E.J.M.M. ; Pena Claros, M. ; Avila, L.A. ; Roopsind, A. ; Mazzei, L. ; Ascarrunz, N. ; Finegan, B. ; Alarcón, A. ; Caceres-Siani, Yasmani ; Licona, J.C. ; Ruschel, A.R. ; Toledo, M. ; Poorter, L. - \ 2016
    Wageningen UR
    disturbance - drought - environmental gradients - forest dynamicsfunctional traits - global change - rainfall - resource availability - soil fertility
    This dataset contains the underlaying data for the study: Tropical forests have long been thought to be in stable state, but recent insights indicate that global change is leading to shifts in forest dynamics and species composition. These shifts may be driven by environmental changes such as increased resource availability, increased drought stress, and/or recovery from past disturbances. The relative importance of these drivers can be inferred from analysing changes in trait values of tree communities. Here, we evaluate a decade of change in species and trait composition across five old-growth Neotropical forests in Bolivia, Brazil, Guyana and Costa Rica that cover large gradients in rainfall and soil fertility. To identify the drivers of compositional change, we used data from 29 permanent sample plots and measurements of 15 leaf, stem and whole-plant traits that are important for plant performance and should respond to global change drivers. We found that forests differ strongly in their community-mean trait values, resulting from differences in soil fertility and annual rainfall seasonality. The abundance of deciduous species with high specific leaf area increases from wet to dry forests. The community-mean wood density is high in the driest forests to protect xylem vessels against drought-cavitation, and is high in nutrient poor forests to increase wood longevity and enhance nutrient residence time in the plant. The species composition changed over time in three of the forests, and the community-mean wood density increased and the specific leaf area decreased in all forests, indicating that these forests are changing towards later successional stages dominated by slow-growing, shade-tolerant species. We did not see changes in other traits that could reflect responses to increased drought stress, such as increased drought-deciduousness or decreased maximum adult size, or that could reflect increased resource availability (CO2, rainfall or nitrogen). Changes in species and trait composition in these forests are, therefore, most likely caused by recovery from past disturbances. These compositional changes may also lead to shifts in ecosystem processes, such as a lower carbon sequestration and “slower” forest dynamics. For 29 permanent sample plots in two census years across five old-growth Neotropical forests in Bolivia, Brazil, Guyana and Costa Rica, the following data are available: values of 15 leaf, stem and whole-plant traits at the community-level, and the plot scores along two principal component axes that represent species composition.
    Seperating the role of biotic interactions and climate in determining adaptive response of plants to climate change
    Tomiolo, S. ; Putten, W.H. van der; Tielbörger, K. - \ 2015
    Ecology 96 (2015)5. - ISSN 0012-9658 - p. 1298 - 1308.
    local adaptation - environmental gradients - positive interactions - species interactions - soil feedback - ecological responses - aridity gradient - global change - evolutionary - communities
    Altered rainfall regimes will greatly affect the response of plant species to climate change. However, little is known about how direct effects of changing precipitation on plant performance may depend on other abiotic factors and biotic interactions. We used reciprocal transplants between climatically very different sites with simultaneous manipulation of soil, plant population origin, and neighbor conditions to evaluate local adaptation and possible adaptive response of four Eastern Mediterranean annual plant species to climate change. The effect of site on plant performance was negligible, but soil origin had a strong effect on fecundity, most likely due to differential water retaining ability. Competition by neighbors strongly reduced fitness. We separated the effects of the abiotic and biotic soil properties on plant performance by repeating the field experiment in a greenhouse under homogenous environmental conditions and including a soil biota manipulation treatment. As in the field, plant performance differed among soil origins and neighbor treatments. Moreover, we found plant species-specific responses to soil biota that may be best explained by the differential sensitivity to negative and positive soil biota effects. Overall, under the conditions of our experiment with two contrasting sites, biotic interactions had a strong effect on plant fitness that interacted with and eventually overrode climate. Because climate and biotic interactions covary, reciprocal transplants and climate gradient studies should consider soil biotic interactions and abiotic conditions when evaluating climate change effects on plant performance.
    Combining satellite data and community-based observations for forest monitoring
    Pratihast, A.K. ; DeVries, B.R. ; Avitabile, V. ; Bruin, S. de; Kooistra, L. ; Tekle, M. ; Herold, M. - \ 2014
    Forests 5 (2014)10. - ISSN 1999-4907 - p. 2464 - 2489.
    cover change - global change - time-series - redd plus - deforestation - challenges - quality - participation - degradation - information
    Within the Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation (REDD+) framework, the involvement of local communities in national forest monitoring activities has the potential to enhance monitoring efficiency at lower costs while simultaneously promoting transparency and better forest management. We assessed the consistency of forest monitoring data (mostly activity data related to forest change) collected by local experts in the UNESCO Kafa Biosphere Reserve, Ethiopia. Professional ground measurements and high resolution satellite images were used as validation data to assess over 700 forest change observations collected by the local experts. Furthermore, we examined the complementary use of local datasets and remote sensing by assessing spatial, temporal and thematic data quality factors. Based on this complementarity, we propose a framework to integrate local expert monitoring data with satellite-based monitoring data into a National Forest Monitoring System (NFMS) in support of REDD+ Measuring, Reporting and Verifying (MRV) and near real-time forest change monitoring.
    Visualizing stakeholder perspectives for reflection and dialogue on scale dynamics in social–ecological systems
    Vervoort, J.M. ; Hoogstra, M.A. ; Kok, K. ; Lammeren, R.J.A. van; Bregt, A.K. ; Janssen, R. - \ 2014
    Human Ecology Review 20 (2014)2. - ISSN 1074-4827 - p. 157 - 181.
    scenario development - global change - time - capacity - limits
    An understanding among societal actors of how social–ecological systems interact across multiple levels and scales contributes to better governance of those systems. This paper introduces a tool, Scale Perspectives, developed to help societal actors share their perspectives on issues of social–ecological systems governance in a multilevel framework. A first version showed that participants in a local and European case study associated a diverse range of levels and time frames with the same issues, but the version was not able to capture cross-level dynamics. A second version of the tool did allow for the visualization of cross-level dynamics, and was tested in live workshops where more opportunities for individual and group reflection were offered. The tool proved useful for sharing perspectives and strategic dialogue among the participants. The results show the potential of such tools to help societal actors tackle challenges related to scale dynamics in social–ecological systems governance.
    How light competition between plants affects their response to climate change
    Loon, M.P. van; Schieving, F. ; Rietkerk, M. ; Dekker, S.C. ; Sterck, F.J. ; Anten, N.P.R. - \ 2014
    New Phytologist 203 (2014)4. - ISSN 0028-646X - p. 1253 - 1265.
    leaf-area index - co2 enrichment face - canopy carbon gain - elevated co2 - atmospheric co2 - stomatal conductance - terrestrial ecosystems - nitrogen availability - global change - gas-exchange
    How plants respond to climate change is of major concern, as plants will strongly impact future ecosystem functioning, food production and climate. Here, we investigated how vegetation structure and functioning may be influenced by predicted increases in annual temperatures and atmospheric CO2 concentration, and modeled the extent to which local plant–plant interactions may modify these effects. A canopy model was developed, which calculates photosynthesis as a function of light, nitrogen, temperature, CO2 and water availability, and considers different degrees of light competition between neighboring plants through canopy mixing; soybean (Glycine max) was used as a reference system. The model predicts increased net photosynthesis and reduced stomatal conductance and transpiration under atmospheric CO2 increase. When CO2 elevation is combined with warming, photosynthesis is increased more, but transpiration is reduced less. Intriguingly, when competition is considered, the optimal response shifts to producing larger leaf areas, but with lower stomatal conductance and associated vegetation transpiration than when competition is not considered. Furthermore, only when competition is considered are the predicted effects of elevated CO2 on leaf area index (LAI) well within the range of observed effects obtained by Free air CO2 enrichment (FACE) experiments. Together, our results illustrate how competition between plants may modify vegetation responses to climate change.
    Influence of land use and climate on recent forest expansion: a case study in the Eurosiberian–Mediterranean limit of north-west Spain
    Alvarez-Martinez, J.M. ; Suarez-Seoane, S. ; Stoorvogel, J.J. ; Luis Calabuig, E. de - \ 2014
    Journal of Ecology 102 (2014)4. - ISSN 0022-0477 - p. 905 - 919.
    species distribution models - global change - cover change - agricultural abandonment - vegetation dynamics - iberian peninsula - spatial-analysis - driving forces - mountain areas - change impacts
    1.In Mediterranean mountainous areas, forests have expanded in recent decades because traditional management practices have been abandoned or reduced. However, understanding the ecological mechanisms behind landscape change is a complex undertaking because the influence of land use may be reinforced or constrained by abiotic factors such as climate. In this work, we evaluated their combined effects on recent forest expansion across climatic, topographic and management gradients. 2.We used orthorectified aerial photographs from the second half of the twentieth century (1956, 1974, 1983, 1990 and 2004) to monitor changes in forest distribution in a set of 20 head-water basins in the Cantabrian Mountains of north-west Spain, at the Eurosiberian–Mediterranean limit. In particular, we evaluated the role of land-use history (comparing natural vs. anthropic basins) and microclimate (comparing shaded vs. sunny aspects) of forest gain/loss rates and spatial distribution shifts. Finally, we applied Species Distribution Modelling techniques (MaxEnt and BIOMOD) in the stated scenarios of land-use history and microclimate, to assess habitat suitability for forest expansion on the basis of topography, soil properties and mesoclimatic variables. 3.Forest cover increased from 10.72% in 1956 to 27.67% in 2004 in the area. The rate of expansion was significantly higher in natural basins and, particularly, on shaded slopes. In all cases, the mean elevation of new forest patches increased during the study period, which was particularly evident on natural sunny slopes. The performance of the models and the magnitude of the effects varied across land-use histories and microclimatic conditions. Soil properties and temperature and precipitation in late spring and early summer were the main drivers of forest expansion in modelling exercises, although expansion rates and upward altitudinal shifts were primarily controlled by land-use history and the biogeographic origin of the forests. 4.Synthesis. The combination of monitoring and modelling techniques used in this work contributed to the understanding of forest expansion in cultural systems, indicating that ecological succession is not a homogeneous process, but varies spatially due to human and abiotic constraints since historical times.
    Nitrogen Addition and Warming Independently Influence the Belowground Micro-Food Web in a Temperate Steppe
    Li, Q. ; Bai, H. ; Liang, W. ; Xia, J. ; Wan, S. ; Putten, W.H. van der - \ 2013
    PLoS ONE 8 (2013)3. - ISSN 1932-6203
    climate-change manipulations - species composition - community structure - plant-communities - organic-matter - northern china - soil nematodes - global change - elevated co2 - deposition
    Climate warming and atmospheric nitrogen (N) deposition are known to influence ecosystem structure and functioning. However, our understanding of the interactive effect of these global changes on ecosystem functioning is relatively limited, especially when it concerns the responses of soils and soil organisms. We conducted a field experiment to study the interactive effects of warming and N addition on soil food web. The experiment was established in 2006 in a temperate steppe in northern China. After three to four years (2009–2010), we found that N addition positively affected microbial biomass and negatively influenced trophic group and ecological indices of soil nematodes. However, the warming effects were less obvious, only fungal PLFA showed a decreasing trend under warming. Interestingly, the influence of N addition did not depend on warming. Structural equation modeling analysis suggested that the direct pathway between N addition and soil food web components were more important than the indirect connections through alterations in soil abiotic characters or plant growth. Nitrogen enrichment also affected the soil nematode community indirectly through changes in soil pH and PLFA. We conclude that experimental warming influenced soil food web components of the temperate steppe less than N addition, and there was little influence of warming on N addition effects under these experimental conditions.
    Scaling issues in forest ecosystem management and how to address them with models
    Seidl, R. ; Eastaugh, C.S. ; Kramer, K. ; Maroschek, M. ; Reyer, C. ; Socha, J. ; Vacchiano, G. ; Zlatanov, T. ; Hasenauer, H. - \ 2013
    European Journal of Forest Research 132 (2013)5-6. - ISSN 1612-4669 - p. 653 - 666.
    individual-based models - climate-change impacts - global change - biome-bgc - biogeochemical model - adaptive capacity - carbon balance - use efficiency - landscape - scales
    Scaling is widely recognized as a central issue in ecology. The associated cross-scale interactions and process transmutations make scaling (i.e. a change in spatial or temporal grain and extent) an important issue in understanding ecosystem structure and functioning. Moreover, current concepts of ecosystem stewardship, such as sustainability and resilience, are inherently scale-dependent. The importance of scale and scaling in the context of forest management is likely to further increase in the future because of the growing relevance of ecosystem services beyond timber production. As a result, a consideration of processes both below (e.g. leaf-level carbon uptake in the context of climate change mitigation) and above (e.g. managing for biodiversity conservation at the landscape scale) the traditional focus on the stand level is required in forest ecosystem management. Furthermore, climate change will affect a variety of ecosystem processes across scales, ranging from photosynthesis (tree organs) to disturbance regimes (landscape scale). Assessing potential climate change impacts on ecosystem services thus requires a multiscale perspective. However, scaling issues have received comparatively little attention in the forest management community to date. Our objectives here are thus first, to synthesize scaling issues relevant to forest management and second, to elucidate ways of dealing with complex scaling problems by highlighting examples of how they can be addressed with ecosystem models. We have focused on three current management issues of particular importance in European forestry: (1) climate change mitigation through carbon sequestration, (2) multi-functional stand management for biodiversity and non-timber goods and services and (3) improving the resilience to natural disturbances. We conclude that taking into account the full spatiotemporal heterogeneity and dynamics of forest ecosystems in management decision-making is likely to make management more robust to increasing environmental and societal pressures. Models can aid this process through explicitly accounting for system dynamics and changing conditions, operationally addressing the complexity of cross-scale interactions and emerging properties. Our synthesis indicates that increased attention to scaling issues can help forest managers to integrate traditional management objectives with emerging concerns for ecosystem services and therefore deserves more attention in forestry.
    Assessing spatial uncertainties of land allocation using a scenario approach and sensitivity analysis: A study for land use in Europe
    Verburg, P.H. ; Tabeau, A.A. ; Hatna, E. - \ 2013
    Journal of Environmental Management 127 (2013)suppl.. - ISSN 0301-4797 - p. S132 - S144.
    climate-change - global change - cover data - future - models - projections - validation - impact - eu
    Land change model outcomes are vulnerable to multiple types of uncertainty, including uncertainty in input data, structural uncertainties in the model and uncertainties in model parameters. In coupled model systems the uncertainties propagate between the models. This paper assesses uncertainty of changes in future spatial allocation of agricultural land in Europe as they arise from a general equilibrium model coupled to a spatial land use allocation model. Two contrasting scenarios are used to capture some of the uncertainty in the development of typical combinations of economic, demographic and policy variables. The scenario storylines include different measurable assumptions concerning scenario specific drivers (variables) and parameters. Many of these assumptions are estimations and thus include a certain level of uncertainty regarding their true values. This leads to uncertainty within the scenario outcomes. In this study we have explored how uncertainty in national-level assumptions within the contrasting scenario assumptions translates into uncertainty in the location of changes in agricultural land use in Europe. The results indicate that uncertainty in coarse-scale assumptions does not translate into a homogeneous spread of the uncertainty within Europe. Some regions are more certain than others in facing specific land change trajectories irrespective of the uncertainty in the macro-level assumptions. The spatial spread of certain and more uncertain locations of land change is dependent on location conditions as well as on the overall scenario conditions. Translating macro-level uncertainties to uncertainties in spatial patterns of land change makes it possible to better understand and visualize the land change consequences of uncertainties in model input variables.
    Considerable environmental bottlenecks for species listed in the Habitats and Birds Directives in the Netherlands
    Wamelink, G.W.W. ; Knegt, B. de; Pouwels, R. ; Schuiling, C. ; Wegman, R.M.A. ; Schmidt, A.M. ; Dobben, H.F. van; Sanders, M.E. - \ 2013
    Biological Conservation 165 (2013)sept.. - ISSN 0006-3207 - p. 43 - 53.
    nitrogen deposition - climate-change - changing biodiversity - provide connectivity - critical loads - large mammals - global change - vegetation - consequences - ecosystem
    Many habitats and species have their existence threatened, especially in densely populated areas such as Western Europe. To stop the decline of biodiversity, the Natura 2000 network is being set-up. The ultimate objective is to get all habitat types (of Annex I of the Habitats Directive) and species (of Annexes II, III and IV of the Habitats Directive and Annex I of the Birds Directive) in a favourable conservation status. In the Netherlands a national ecological network has been set up for this purpose which includes the designated Natura 2000 sites. The current amount of atmospheric nitrogen deposition, acidification and desiccation were compared with limit values per habitat type for nitrogen deposition load, soil pH and spring groundwater table respectively and subsequently presented together in one map. Fragmentation was tested for 80 species.For two-third of the examined natural surface the critical load for nitrogen deposition is exceeded, desiccation is present in over 90% of the area of groundwater dependent nature. Problems with acidification are less pronounced. Fragmentation is present causing regional problems for up to six species. When the four pressures are combined, about two third of the areas suffer from at least one pressure. Many areas suffer from a combination of nitrogen deposition and desiccation.We conclude that environmental and spatial conditions are insufficient to meet the biodiversity target set by the European Union for the Natura 2000 network, habitat types and species.
    Challenges for land system science
    Rounsevell, M.D.A. ; Pedroli, G.B.M. ; Erb, K.H. ; Perez-Soba, M. - \ 2012
    Land Use Policy 29 (2012)4. - ISSN 0264-8377 - p. 899 - 910.
    ecosystem services - cover change - spatially explicit - global change - agricultural intensification - environmental-change - landscape functions - human appropriation - united-states - use scenarios
    While considerable progress has been made in understanding land use change, land system science continues to face a number of grand challenges. This paper discusses these challenges with a focus on empirical land system studies, land system modelling and the analysis of future visions of land system change. Contemporary landscapes are contingent outcomes of past and present patterns, processes and decisions. Thus, empirical analysis of past and present land-use change has an important role in providing insights into the socio-economic and ecological processes that shape land use transitions. This is especially important with respect to gradual versus rapid land system dynamics and in understanding changes in land use intensity. Combining the strengths of empirical analysis with multi-scale modelling will lead to new insights into the processes driving land system change. New modelling methods that combine complex systems thinking at a local level with macro-level economic analysis of the land system would reconcile the multi-scale dynamics currently encapsulated in bottom-up and top-down modelling approaches. Developments in land use futures analysis could focus on integrating explorative scenarios that reflect possible outcomes with normative visions that identify desired outcomes. Such an approach would benefit from the broad and in-depth involvement of stakeholders in order to link scientific findings to political and societal decision-making culminating in a set of key choices and consequences. Land system models have an important role in supporting future land use policy, but model outputs require scientific interpretation rather than being presented as predictions. The future of land system science is strongly dependent on the research community's capacity to bring together the elements of research discussed in the paper, via empirical data collection and analysis of observed processes, computer simulation across scale levels and futures analysis of alternative, normative visions through stakeholder engagement.
    Differences in the climatic debts of birds and butterflies at a continental scale
    Devictor, V. ; Swaay, C. van; Brereton, T. ; Brotons, L. ; Chamberlain, D. ; Heliölä, J. ; Herrando, S. ; Julliard, R. ; Kuussaari, M. ; Lindström, A. ; Reif, J. ; Roy, D.B. ; Schweiger, O. ; Settele, J. ; Stefanescu, C. ; Strien, A. van; Turnhout, C. van; Vermouzek, Z. ; Wallis de Vries, M.F. ; Wynhoff, I. ; Jiguet, F. - \ 2012
    Nature Climate Change 2 (2012). - ISSN 1758-678X - p. 121 - 124.
    evolutionary responses - global change - extinction - adaptation
    Climate changes have profound effects on the distribution of numerous plant and animal species(1-3). However, whether and how different taxonomic groups are able to track climate changes at large spatial scales is still unclear. Here, we measure and compare the climatic debt accumulated by bird and butterfly communities at a European scale over two decades (1990-2008). We quantified the yearly change in community composition in response to climate change for 9,490 bird and 2,130 butterfly communities distributed across Europe(4). We show that changes in community composition are rapid but different between birds and butterflies and equivalent to a 37 and 114 km northward shift in bird and butterfly communities, respectively. We further found that, during the same period, the northward shift in temperature in Europe was even faster, so that the climatic debts of birds and butterflies correspond to a 212 and 135 km lag behind climate. Our results indicate both that birds and butterflies do not keep up with temperature increase and the accumulation of different climatic debts for these groups at national and continental scales.
    Effects of disturbance intensity on species and functional diversity in a tropical forest
    Carreño Rocabado, G. ; Peña-Claros, M. ; Bongers, F. ; Alarcón, A. ; Licona, J.C. ; Poorter, L. - \ 2012
    Journal of Ecology 100 (2012)6. - ISSN 0022-0477 - p. 1453 - 1463.
    rican rain-forest - plant traits - land-use - silvicultural treatments - growth-rates - leaf traits - litter decomposition - global change - dry forest - tree
    Disturbances are widespread and may affect community assembly, species composition, (functional) diversity and hence ecosystem processes. It remains still unclear to what extent disturbance-mediated species changes scale-up to changes in community functional properties, especially for species-rich tropical forests. A large-scale field experiment was performed in which the dynamics of 15 000 stems >10 cm in diameter was monitored for 8 years in 44 one-ha forest plots. Twelve functional effect and response traits were measured for the most dominant tree species. The effects of different intensities of disturbance caused by logging and silvicultural treatments on the species and functional diversity of a Bolivian tropical forest community were evaluated, along with how these changes were driven by underlying demographic processes. Disturbance treatments did not affect species diversity or functional diversity indices based on multiple traits related to primary productivity and decomposition rate. This result suggests that species richness is conserved, and trait variation is maintained, which can buffer the community against environmental change. In contrast, disturbance intensity affected the average plant trait values in the community (the community-weighted mean) for seven of 12 traits evaluated. At high disturbance intensity, the community had a lower wood density of stem and branches, lower leaf toughness and dry matter content, but higher specific leaf area and leaf N- and P concentration, with the value of these traits changing on average 6% over the 8-year period. The functional spectrum of the community changed, therefore, from slow, conservative, shade-tolerant species towards fast, acquisitive, light-demanding species. These functional changes in mean trait values may enhance primary productivity and decomposition rate in the short term. Temporal changes in community functional properties were mainly driven by recruitment, and little by mortality or survival. Synthesis. Moderate levels of (logging) disturbance neither affected species diversity nor functional diversity per se in the 8-year period after logging. Disturbance did, however, change the functional community composition towards fast species with more acquisitive traits, thus potentially fuelling primary productivity and nutrient and carbon cycling. In conclusion, tropical forest management may contribute to conserving functional biodiversity of trees while providing forest resources.
    A multi-scale modelling approach for analysing landscape service dynamics
    Willemen, L. ; Veldkamp, A. ; Verburg, P.H. ; Hein, L.G. ; Leemans, R. - \ 2012
    Journal of Environmental Management 100 (2012). - ISSN 0301-4797 - p. 86 - 95.
    managing ecosystem services - land-cover change - biodiversity conservation - global change - human-needs - management - science - sustainability - requirements - agriculture
    Shifting societal needs drive and shape landscapes and the provision of their services. This paper presents a modelling approach to visualize the regional spatial and temporal dynamics in landscape service supply as a function of changing landscapes and societal demand. This changing demand can result from different policy targets. In this paper we conceptualise the system in which these dynamics take place by explicitly addressing (i) the multifunctional character of a landscape, (ii) the different spatial levels at which interactions between landscape service supply, demand, and land management occur, and (iii) trade-offs in service supply as a result of land management actions. Next, we translate the resulting conceptual framework into an operational model. As a demonstration, this model is applied to simulate changes in landscape service supply driven by regional policies in a rural region of the Netherlands. This application demonstrates potential trade-offs, which emerge in a spatially explicit way in the region over time. It illustrates the potential relevance of modelling landscape service dynamics for environmental management and decision making
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