Wspólnotowy Serwis Informacyjny Badan i Rozwoju - CORDIS

End user guidelines

- Involve end-users and decision makers in guiding the project and relating the results to end user experience and practices,
- Produce guidelines for shrubland management,
- Transfer results to potential end users.

Involvement of end-user group (EUG) The EUG has caused the project to think broader, to focus on dissemination and the relevancy of the science and the project results to society Their first message was that guidelines for shrubland exist so the work should focus on transfer of knowledge to potential shrubland end users, land managers, nature conservationists, and decision makers on the implications of climate change.

At the final workshop in December 2004, scientists, end users and invited guests contrasted the scientific results from the climate change experiments with other threats to shrublands to evaluate if the results call for new management actions. The results show that there are different effects of climate change on different shrubland ecosystems. Climate change influences i.e. the vegetation composition, productivity, phenology, fauna composition and soil processes.

These changes may decrease shrubland ecosystem stability and content and may result in environmental problems. We observed a synergy between for example pollution, changes in land use and climatic changes so we cannot find attributes, which are unique for climatic changes. But climate change has increased the pressure on these vulnerable ecosystems.

As a general advice the managers should listen to early warnings and take measures before the habitats have already been destroyed. To counteract the negative effects of climate change (the increasing pressure on shrublands) it is necessary to enhance the robustness of shrubland ecosystems through target oriented and prioritise management.

One tool is linking fragmented heathland sites (increase connectivity) e.g. by reverting agricultural land and forest to heathland. To accomplish this there is a need to define and develop indicators that tell where change is happening, what the change is and what management measures may maintain the ecosystem stability.

The increased leaching of N in the Dutch site is a major environmental concern. Removal of surface soil was proposed as a management measure directed towards counteracting increased effect of N-deposition. Another concern was the long term effects of drought on high altitude moors in e.g. Wales. The substrate will loose C and ability to retain water.

This may result in increased floods after heavy rain or lack of water in drought periods. A possible action is to block drainage from the moors.

A direct effect of changing climatic conditions were found on plants and soil in the beginning, but as time went on more indirect effects - effects that were more difficult to relate to specific causes - appeared. Finding good indicators is therefore complicated. Indicators can be related to processes or to eco-system conditions and can be indicators of change or indicators that explain changes. It is important that indicators are found that are unequivocal and relatively simple to measure, facilitating the monitoring of terrestrial ecosystems that are being developed in Europe in connection with the implementation of EU Water framework directive, Natura 2000 network etc. Several of the end-users are involved in the work with developing the monitoring program, thus the results will be exploited as input to indicator work and to make recommendations for monitoring.

A website was established early in the project. The website is an important platform to reach larger groups of end-users. We have produced 5 web-based newsletters - also distributed to target persons and organisations in Europe and climate change fora.

The content has been a mixture of scientific news, risk assessment and management. The last newsletter is a popular science leaflet as suggested by the end-users with a 2 pages summary of key findings from each of the six experimental sites and from the cross-site analysis of fauna and remote sensing. The scientific summary from each site can further function as a 2-pages handout to visitors at the sites. Scientific peer review publications are in preparation: a cross-site synthesis of shrubland ecosystems for a special issue as output from the AVEC workshop in Capri in October (submitted in February).

Further, a series of papers are in prep. to go into a special issue of a scientific journal summer 2005. The further recommendations of continue presentations at workshops, conferences, meetings etc. will generally be in everybodies minds, including teaching in summer camps.

The website will be paid and maintained by Claus Beier for another 5 years. This will serve as a mean to inform across the network, to keep the protocols updated across the groups and to share data and publications. This also includes common access of the partners to the data and linking to other networks.

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Hoersholm Kongevej 11
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