Evaluating ecosystem processes in willow short rotation coppice bioenergy plantations

Rowe, Rebecca L, Goulson, Dave, Doncaster, C Patrick, Clarke, Donna J, Taylor, Gail and Hanley, Mick E (2013) Evaluating ecosystem processes in willow short rotation coppice bioenergy plantations. GCB Bioenergy, 5 (3). pp. 257-266. ISSN 1757-1693

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Despite a growing body of research linking bioenergy cultivation to changing patterns of biodiversity, there has been remarkably little interest in how bioenergy plantations affect key ecosystem processes underpinning important ecosystem services. In this study, we compare how the processes of predation by ground arthropods and litter decomposition varied between Short Rotation Coppice (SRC) willow bioenergy plantations and alternative land-uses: arable and set-aside (agricultural land taken out of production). We deployed litter bags to measure variation in decomposition, and a prey removal assay coupled with pitfall traps and direct searches to investigate variation in predation pressure. Decomposition rate was higher in willow SRC and set-aside than in cereal crops. Willow SRC had the highest abundance and diversity of ground-dwelling arthropod predators, but land-use had no detectable influence on predation of fly pupae or the combined activity-density of the two principal Coleoptera families (carabids and staphylinids). Overall, our study demonstrates that the conversion of arable land to SRC may have implications for the rate of some, but not all, ecosystem processes, and highlights the need for further research in this area. © 2013 Blackwell Publishing Ltd.

Item Type: Article
Schools and Departments: School of Life Sciences > Evolution, Behaviour and Environment
Depositing User: Catrina Hey
Date Deposited: 21 Nov 2014 10:43
Last Modified: 21 Nov 2014 10:43
URI: http://srodev.sussex.ac.uk/id/eprint/51160
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