Land use management to ensure ecosystem service delivery under new societal and environmental pressures in heathlands (LandPress).
Financed by MILJØFORSK - Norwegian Research Council.
LandPress is an interdisciplinary project that focuses on a major driver of land-use change: abandonment of traditional land-use practices such as grazing and prescribed burning, and explores how this interacts with climate change to cause significant ecological and societal changes.
Marginalization and abandonment of land strongly affects ecosystems, causing large-scale successional changes and loss of habitats and ecosystem functions and services. As a result, several nature types are now classified as threatened in Norway and the EU. In addition to biodiversity and habitat loss, these changes also have negative societal impacts.
A recent example is the increased risk of wildfires resulting from biomass build-up in successional landscapes, representing societal costs related to fire control, mitigation of landscape fires, compensation for economic losses, and loss of safety. This illustrates how land-use can provide values beyond food production, offering new motivation for land management as part of a green restructuring.
The role of land-use in ecosystem service provisioning may be especially relevant under future climate, where extreme climatic events are predicted to increase in frequency. LandPress makes use of a rare opportunity, a 'natural experiment' created by extreme drought in the winter of 2014 that caused massive heather dieback as well as consecutive landscape fires along the Norwegian coast. The project combines observational data on ecosystem responses and resilience after the 2014 event with targeted experiments, one of them the International Drought Experiment, integrating our project into an international context.
LandPress interlaces five work packages, exploring the impact of land-use change in combination with extreme climatic events in terms of vegetation change, ecosystem resilience, ecosystem services provisioning, sustainability, and evidence-based management and fire-risk prevention.
For more information: http://www.uib.no/en/rg/EECRG/95156/landpress