Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Rare chalk grassland takes 50 years to recover from military use

20.06.2005


Rare and fragmented chalk grasslands may take at least half a century to recover from the damage done to them by military training, according to new research published in the British Ecological Society’s Journal of Applied Ecology.



Working with historical aerial photographs taken on the Salisbury Plain Training Area between 1945 and 1995, Dr Rachel Hirst and colleagues from the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology and the University of Liverpool identified 82 sites from which they sampled vegetation and soil. They found that, while neutral (mesotrophic) grasslands took between 30 and 40 years to re-establish after disturbance during military training, areas of chalk grassland took at least 50 years to recover.

The long-lasting damage is due not only to vegetation being destroyed by tanks and shelling but also by soil compaction. According to Hirst: "Large military vehicles can change the horizontal and vertical structure of vegetation communities through the crushing and cutting of vegetation, and soil compaction effects decrease soil microporosity and rainfall infiltration capacity, altering nutrient availability and restricting root growth."


Covering 38,000 hectares, Salisbury Plain Training Area is the largest military training area in the UK, and the only training area suitable for large-scale tactical armoured vehicle exercises. However, it is also one of the largest Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) in the UK, containing the largest expanse of unimproved chalk grassland in north-west Europe - a habitat of particular conservation interest.

The findings not only have implications for how the Ministry of Defence manages the more than 250 SSSIs in its training areas, but also how much pressure certain areas of the countryside can bear from the increasing use of off-road vehicles.

"Chalk grasslands remain a rare and fragmented habitat type in north-west Europe, and outside Salisbury Plain, the rolling chalk downlands of southern England, much of which enjoy statutory protection, provide recreational resources for walking, horse riding and cycling. These activities cannot take place without some localised habitat disturbance, but can be managed more effectively if the ecosystem dynamics are better understood. Appreciation of the length of time that intensively disturbed grassland can take to re-establish may encourage more effective control measures at other sites," Hirst says.

Lynne Miller | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.blackwellpublishing.com

More articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation:

nachricht Dispersal of Fish Eggs by Water Birds – Just a Myth?
19.02.2018 | Universität Basel

nachricht Removing fossil fuel subsidies will not reduce CO2 emissions as much as hoped
08.02.2018 | International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA)

All articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Spider silk key to new bone-fixing composite

University of Connecticut researchers have created a biodegradable composite made of silk fibers that can be used to repair broken load-bearing bones without the complications sometimes presented by other materials.

Repairing major load-bearing bones such as those in the leg can be a long and uncomfortable process.

Im Focus: Writing and deleting magnets with lasers

Study published in the journal ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces is the outcome of an international effort that included teams from Dresden and Berlin in Germany, and the US.

Scientists at the Helmholtz-Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf (HZDR) together with colleagues from the Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin (HZB) and the University of Virginia...

Im Focus: Gamma-ray flashes from plasma filaments

Novel highly efficient and brilliant gamma-ray source: Based on model calculations, physicists of the Max PIanck Institute for Nuclear Physics in Heidelberg propose a novel method for an efficient high-brilliance gamma-ray source. A giant collimated gamma-ray pulse is generated from the interaction of a dense ultra-relativistic electron beam with a thin solid conductor. Energetic gamma-rays are copiously produced as the electron beam splits into filaments while propagating across the conductor. The resulting gamma-ray energy and flux enable novel experiments in nuclear and fundamental physics.

The typical wavelength of light interacting with an object of the microcosm scales with the size of this object. For atoms, this ranges from visible light to...

Im Focus: Basel researchers succeed in cultivating cartilage from stem cells

Stable joint cartilage can be produced from adult stem cells originating from bone marrow. This is made possible by inducing specific molecular processes occurring during embryonic cartilage formation, as researchers from the University and University Hospital of Basel report in the scientific journal PNAS.

Certain mesenchymal stem/stromal cells from the bone marrow of adults are considered extremely promising for skeletal tissue regeneration. These adult stem...

Im Focus: Like a wedge in a hinge

Researchers lay groundwork to tailor drugs for new targets in cancer therapy

In the fight against cancer, scientists are developing new drugs to hit tumor cells at so far unused weak points. Such a “sore spot” is the protein complex...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Invitation to the upcoming "Current Topics in Bioinformatics: Big Data in Genomics and Medicine"

13.04.2018 | Event News

Unique scope of UV LED technologies and applications presented in Berlin: ICULTA-2018

12.04.2018 | Event News

IWOLIA: A conference bringing together German Industrie 4.0 and French Industrie du Futur

09.04.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Scientists re-create brain neurons to study obesity and personalize treatment

20.04.2018 | Health and Medicine

Spider silk key to new bone-fixing composite

20.04.2018 | Materials Sciences

Clear as mud: Desiccation cracks help reveal the shape of water on Mars

20.04.2018 | Earth Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>