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Soil Ecology and Ecosystem Services$
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Diana H. Wall, Richard D. Bardgett, Valerie Behan-Pelletier, Jeffrey E. Herrick, T. Hefin Jones, Karl Ritz, Johan Six, Donald R. Strong, and Wim H. van der Putten

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780199575923

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: December 2013

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199575923.001.0001

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Management of Grassland Systems, Soil, and Ecosystem Services

Management of Grassland Systems, Soil, and Ecosystem Services

Chapter:
(p.282) Chapter 4.4 Management of Grassland Systems, Soil, and Ecosystem Services
Source:
Soil Ecology and Ecosystem Services
Author(s):

Phil Murray

Felicity Crotty

Nick van Eekeren

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199575923.003.0024

Grasslands occupy almost a quarter of the land surface of the Earth, including pasture, prairie, rangelands, savannah, and steppe. The types of grasslands are varied and cover a wide range of management regimes, from intensively managed, highly productive to totally unmanaged. Globally and regionally, grasslands provide a number of key ecosystem services including support (e.g., water and nutrient cycling), provisioning (e.g., food production), regulating (e.g., climate regulation), cultural (e.g.m recreational), and biocontrol (e.g., source of predatory organisms) services. A large proportion of the processes in soils are mediated by the soil biota. These include the comminution and incorporation of litter into soil; the building and maintenance of structural porosity; the aggregation in soils through burrowing activities; the control of microbial communities and activities; and the improvement of plant production. The interactions between groups of organisms and physical and chemical processes shape the soil as a habitat, and influence the nature of the soil food web, with consequences for the vegetation it supports. The influence of management on the grass sward cannot be decoupled from its effects on soil biota and the challenge for sustainable grassland management is to allow this cycle to function with an optimum use of inputs. This chapter discusses how management impacts on the soil biota and the trade-offs between management and ecosystems services.

Keywords:   soil biota, grasslands, ecosystem services, soil communities, management, intensification

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