Calcareous Grasslands: Local and Landscape Biodiversity Responses and Conservation Implications

SCIENCE FOR SUSTAINABILITY

Land use change has been a major problem since the 20th century due to its contributions to biodiversity loss, as well as landscape fragmentation and degradation. These land use changes are often through agricultural intensification or abandonment, especially in calcareous grasslands (those on thin basic soil, such as chalk or limestone, with short and hardy vegetation – see image below). Due to calcareous grasslands having a high biodiversity and species richness, but also facing a severe decline due to fragmentation and land use change, conservation here is desperately needed. Therefore Loos et al. (2021) explored the local and landscape effects of calcareous grassland fragmentation on different taxonomic groups, and especially their diversity patterns, in order to understand the effects on different scales and identify future conservation options.

Photo by Jacqueline Loos

The authors surveyed 31 grassland fragments near Göttingen, Germany for vascular plants, butterflies and birds, using regression modelling to…

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