Keynote Lectures

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Sward degradation is a serious threat to the functioning of grassland and the provision of ecosystem services. Renovation measures are frequently applied in order to restore degraded swards. However, the success is highly variable and substantial tradeoffs are often found following renovation such as among agronomic and environmental services. Starting from a general classification of renovation measures the paper investigates the processes induced by renovation that lead to a change of the vegetation and that affect carbon and nitrogen fluxes. These processes are strongly interrelated and dependent on site, climate and management condition as well as on the time scale. The more an existing and degraded sward is deliberately disturbed prior to a renovation measure, e.g. by ploughing, the larger will be the vegetation change, the potential yield and quality advantage but also the risk of soil organic carbon release and nitrogen emissions to the environment. Such effects are unlikely to maintain in the longer term. This demonstrates that the renovation of swards is always the second best solution if there is the opportunity to avoid degradation by a proper grassland utilization.

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Grassland Renovation and Consequences for Nutrient Management

Sward degradation is a serious threat to the functioning of grassland and the provision of ecosystem services. Renovation measures are frequently applied in order to restore degraded swards. However, the success is highly variable and substantial tradeoffs are often found following renovation such as among agronomic and environmental services. Starting from a general classification of renovation measures the paper investigates the processes induced by renovation that lead to a change of the vegetation and that affect carbon and nitrogen fluxes. These processes are strongly interrelated and dependent on site, climate and management condition as well as on the time scale. The more an existing and degraded sward is deliberately disturbed prior to a renovation measure, e.g. by ploughing, the larger will be the vegetation change, the potential yield and quality advantage but also the risk of soil organic carbon release and nitrogen emissions to the environment. Such effects are unlikely to maintain in the longer term. This demonstrates that the renovation of swards is always the second best solution if there is the opportunity to avoid degradation by a proper grassland utilization.