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 How fires are changing the tundra’s face
12.12.2017 | Gesellschaft für Ökologie e.V.

nachricht Using drones to estimate crop damage by wild boars
12.12.2017 | Gesellschaft für Ökologie e.V.

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: Long-lived storage of a photonic qubit for worldwide teleportation

MPQ scientists achieve long storage times for photonic quantum bits which break the lower bound for direct teleportation in a global quantum network.

Concerning the development of quantum memories for the realization of global quantum networks, scientists of the Quantum Dynamics Division led by Professor...

Im Focus: Electromagnetic water cloak eliminates drag and wake

Detailed calculations show water cloaks are feasible with today's technology

Researchers have developed a water cloaking concept based on electromagnetic forces that could eliminate an object's wake, greatly reducing its drag while...

Im Focus: Scientists channel graphene to understand filtration and ion transport into cells

Tiny pores at a cell's entryway act as miniature bouncers, letting in some electrically charged atoms--ions--but blocking others. Operating as exquisitely sensitive filters, these "ion channels" play a critical role in biological functions such as muscle contraction and the firing of brain cells.

To rapidly transport the right ions through the cell membrane, the tiny channels rely on a complex interplay between the ions and surrounding molecules,...

Im Focus: Towards data storage at the single molecule level

The miniaturization of the current technology of storage media is hindered by fundamental limits of quantum mechanics. A new approach consists in using so-called spin-crossover molecules as the smallest possible storage unit. Similar to normal hard drives, these special molecules can save information via their magnetic state. A research team from Kiel University has now managed to successfully place a new class of spin-crossover molecules onto a surface and to improve the molecule’s storage capacity. The storage density of conventional hard drives could therefore theoretically be increased by more than one hundred fold. The study has been published in the scientific journal Nano Letters.

Over the past few years, the building blocks of storage media have gotten ever smaller. But further miniaturization of the current technology is hindered by...

Im Focus: Successful Mechanical Testing of Nanowires

With innovative experiments, researchers at the Helmholtz-Zentrums Geesthacht and the Technical University Hamburg unravel why tiny metallic structures are extremely strong

Light-weight and simultaneously strong – porous metallic nanomaterials promise interesting applications as, for instance, for future aeroplanes with enhanced...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

See, understand and experience the work of the future

11.12.2017 | Event News

Innovative strategies to tackle parasitic worms

08.12.2017 | Event News

AKL’18: The opportunities and challenges of digitalization in the laser industry

07.12.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Long-lived storage of a photonic qubit for worldwide teleportation

12.12.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Multi-year submarine-canyon study challenges textbook theories about turbidity currents

12.12.2017 | Earth Sciences

Electromagnetic water cloak eliminates drag and wake

12.12.2017 | Power and Electrical Engineering

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>