|Publication type:||Book part|
|Type of review:||Editorial review|
|Title:||Grasslands of Eastern Europe|
|Published in:||Reference module in earth systems and environmental sciences / encyclopedia of the world's biomes|
|Editors of the parent work:||Goldstein, M. I.|
DellaSala, D. A.
|Publisher / Ed. Institution:||Elsevier|
|Subjects:||Grassland; Eastern Europe|
|Abstract:||Grasslands cover around 282,000 km2, corresponding to 14.6% of the total area in the countries of Eastern Europe, here defined as East Europe, Eastern Central-Europe, and the non-Mediterranean part of the Balkan Peninsula. Primary (steppes, alpine grasslands, azonal and extrazonal grasslands) and secondary grasslands (created mostly by forest cuts) provide a wide range of ecosystem services, such as biomass production and food for grazing animals and other herbivores, carbon storage and sequestration, home for pollinators as well as for migratory and breeding birds, water infiltration, purification and storage, erosion prevention and recreation. Both primary and secondary grasslands in Eastern Europe harbor a rich flora and fauna, but they are threatened by area loss, the twin threats of intensification and abandonment, invasive species encroachment, and climate change. Large areas of grasslands in the lowland regions have been converted to croplands, and the remaining grassland fragments are in general degraded by intensified use. Intensified use and application of tillage, drainage, intercropping, high intensity grazing or the use of pesticides, mineral and organic fertilizers have a detrimental effect on flora and fauna. In contrast, low accessible areas in mountains, foothills or other marginal areas, the traditional grassland management is abandoned. To recover or improve grassland biodiversity, in many countries, the re-introduction of traditional management regimes by mowing or grazing have been suggested. In case of completely destroyed grasslands, restoration of grassland vegetation and diversity by spontaneous succession and/or technical reclamation are necessary. While in large-scale restoration programs successes were often reported, it was also noted by the authors that the success of restoration was strongly influenced by the availability of high-quality grasslands in the landscape, acting as donor sites or spontaneous sources of propagules. High quality grassland fragments act as hotspots of biodiversity in landscapes dominated by agriculture; thus, their preservation should be prioritized in conservation actions.|
|Fulltext version:||Published version|
|License (according to publishing contract):||Licence according to publishing contract|
|Departement:||Life Sciences and Facility Management|
|Organisational Unit:||Institute of Natural Resource Sciences (IUNR)|
|Appears in Collections:||Publikationen Life Sciences und Facility Management|
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