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Blomberg, Hugo, 2021. Impact of management intensity on the plant diversity and soil carbon of grasslands in different agro-climatic regions of Sweden. First cycle, G2E. Alnarp: SLU, Department of Biosystems and Technology (from 130101)

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Abstract

Biodiversity loss is a global issue and within the EU and Sweden, funding is available for practices
that can enhance biodiversity. Semi-natural grasslands, either cut or grazed, have proven to host a
wide range of biodiversity that can serve important eco-system functions. While dependent on
human management through cutting or animal husbandry, it is reported that intensive management
can be detrimental to biodiversity. Over- or under grazing, fertilizing, and soil disturbance
(ploughing) can damage key species in grasslands.
Land management also affects soil carbon. Globally, soil carbon stocks are being depleted due to
unsustainable land conversion and land management. For example, 90% of semi-natural
grasslands in Sweden have been converted to arable land or production forest within the last
century. Generally, grasslands, natural and semi-natural, are reported to sequester and stock
significant amounts of atmospheric carbon, making them a valuable resource in mitigating carbon
dioxide levels in the atmosphere. Fertilizing grasslands can boost the carbon sequestration, but at
the same time can be negative for biodiversity.
The aim of this thesis was to better understand how varying management intensity affects plant
diversity and soil carbon under different climate conditions. This research is based on data
gathered on different locations in the south and north of Sweden, which may show differences in
the results, since the role of climatic differences in these properties is well known.
The results showed that extensively managed fields did host a wider plant diversity in the fields in
the south of Sweden compared to more intensively managed fields, but not significantly so in the
north. The fields in the north did however host more species on average than the fields in the
south. No significant difference between neither management intensity nor climatic differences
was seen with soil carbon, perhaps because of the fields closeness to steady-state.
It is discussed whether there may be a trade-off between managing grasslands for carbon
sequestration and biodiversity, and that it may be more reasonable to manage the remaining semi�natural grasslands in Sweden and Europe for optimal biodiversity, rather than carbon
sequestration. Carbon sequestration may be better targeted at converting carbon depleted arable
lands to grasslands which likely already holds nutrients in the soil.

Main title:Impact of management intensity on the plant diversity and soil carbon of grasslands in different agro-climatic regions of Sweden
Authors:Blomberg, Hugo
Supervisor:Barreiro, Ana
Examiner:Dimitrova Mårtensson, Linda-Maria
Series:UNSPECIFIED
Volume/Sequential designation:UNSPECIFIED
Year of Publication:2021
Level and depth descriptor:First cycle, G2E
Student's programme affiliation:LK005 Horticultural Management Programme - Gardening and Horticultural Production, Bachelor's Programme 180 HEC
Supervising department:(LTJ, LTV) > Department of Biosystems and Technology (from 130101)
Keywords:plant species richness, pasture, meadow, soil C, subarctic, humid continental, oceanic, ploughing, fertilization, temperate, continental
URN:NBN:urn:nbn:se:slu:epsilon-s-16586
Permanent URL:
http://urn.kb.se/resolve?urn=urn:nbn:se:slu:epsilon-s-16586
Subjects:Crop husbandry
Language:English
Deposited On:19 Apr 2021 11:10
Metadata Last Modified:20 Apr 2021 01:00

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