Butterflies: euphydrias aurinia

Project: Cascading effects of drought on farming/grazing and farmland biodiversity

The impacts of drought and grazing on farmland biodiversity and productivity have seldom been studied in semi-natural grasslands. To fill this gap, we will use data collected before, during, and after extreme drought in 2018. We will focus on the combined effect of drought and grazing on livestock and biodiversity.

Facts about the project

Project manager
Markus Franzén
Other project members
Anders Forsman, Per Eric Betzholtz (Linnaeus University), Victor Johansson, Oskar Kindvall, John Askling (Calluna)
Participating organizations
Linnaeus University, Calluna AB
Financier
Formas
Timetable
2019-2022
Subject
Ecology (Department of Biology and Environmental Science, Faculty of Health and Life Sciences)
Research group
Evolutionary Ecology

More about the project

Livestock farming in southern Sweden takes place in semi-natural grasslands characterized by low and erratic rainfall and regular droughts in the summers. The impacts of drought and grazing on farmland biodiversity and productivity have seldom been studied in semi-natural grasslands.

To fill this gap, we will use data collected before, during, and after extreme drought in 2018. We will focus on the combined effect of drought and grazing on livestock and biodiversity. In 2018, authorities gave permissions to graze grasslands that normally are imbedded with strict regulations or set aside fields, and regulations and farmland traditions were discontinued. Large areas were grazed in 2018, but which had not previously been extensively grazed in favor of biodiversity.

We hypothesize that the drought resulted in food shortages for parts of the biodiversity and livestock, that caused intensified grazing over larger areas, and an ecosystem collapse through an interactive effect of grazing and drought.

We will study these processes to answer the question whether and how it is possible to combine high biodiversity with maintained agricultural production during years of extreme drought.