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Plant Ecology Laboratory

Research in our lab focuses on diversity patterns in biological communities, and on the interactions underlying these patterns. The main questions we address are: how do communities vary along natural gradients and gradients of human impact? What are the major assembly rules shaping communities; and are they attributable to biotic interactions or environmental heterogeneity? What are the roles of different biotic interactions - including competition, facilitation, herbivory and symbiosis - in structuring communities? Read more

News archive - May

AWARE workshop in Poland

May 2013

April 21-25 Jaak-Albert Metsoja visited an international workshop AWARE: Approaches in WetlAnd REstoration - focus on fen landscapes. On the workshop seminar different trade-off relationships of ecological restoration of wetlands were discussed - species richness vs ecosystem services (e.g carbon sequestration); high vs low intensity restoration; restoring systems that are resilient vs those that need continuous human intervention.

In the second part of the workshop several restoration sites in Polish Nature Reserves (e.g Biebrza National Park) were visited to place the scientific discussion into a local context of different aims, obstacles and results of specific projects.
The participants of the workshop also signed a petition to Polish government in order it to stop the ongoing deepening and straightening of Polish rivers which has catchment wide adverse effects on water related ecosystems all over the country.

New paper addresses management effects on floodplain meadows

May 2013

Lena Neuenkamp, Jaak-Albert Metsoja, Martin Zobel and Norbert Hölzel published a new article about “Impact of management on biodiversity-productivity relations in Estonian flooded meadows“ in Plant Ecology.

This paper focussed on the effect of management on species richness-productivity relations in productive floodplain meadows. In particular, they addressed the relative importance of biomass cutting, hay removal and nutrient impoverishment on species richness and growth form structure. They conducted fieldwork in flooded meadows, which were dominated by sedges or forbs, in Alam-Pedja Nature Reserve, central Estonia. The main result of this study was that management—mowing and hay removal—reduced the amount of litter but not aboveground biomass. The effect of nitrogen supply was significant, but explained less variation. Management increased the proportion of sedges in the sedge meadow and of small herbs in the tall forb meadow. They conclude that litter removal is the most important management means to support biodiversity. On highly productive sites, reducing nutrients via hay removal is of secondary importance within a timeframe of 10 years.

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