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Web Ecology An open-access peer-reviewed journal

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Artificial wetlands are becoming critical habitats as natural wetlands continue to be degraded and destroyed. I surveyed quarry wetlands to assess how they provide habitat for frogs and the factors driving patterns. Quarry wetlands consistently harboured more species and healthier individuals than reference wetlands. We need to encourage wildlife utilisation of quarry wetlands, and the methods outlined here provide a powerful, yet simple, tool to assess the overall health of artificial wetlands.

Michael Sievers

Dice snakes live in freshwater but are able to spend prolonged periods in sea water for food foraging. However, it is unclear whether foraging in salty sea water has a physiological cost. Our experimental data suggest that even though dice snakes show a remarkable tolerance to waters with increased salinity, prolonged exposure induces significant physiological stress (increased metabolism, membrane rupture), which should limit their ability to stay in them for long periods of time.

Vanya Koleva, Yurii Kornilev, Ivan Telenchev, Simeon Lukanov, Berna Hristova, and Nikolay Natchev

The identification of potential zones for offshore wind farm development is a delicate and multifaceted procedure. For this aim, a holistic approach has been adopted integrating technical and environmental criteria related to the offshore wind energy exploitation. The integration is made feasible through the Smart Wind Chart that aims to maintain and secure the sustainable blue growth in the Mediterranean Sea through the support of offshore wind energy projects and marine habitat conservation.

T. Soukissian, S. Reizopoulou, P. Drakopoulou, P. Axaopoulos, F. Karathanasi, S. Fraschetti, L. Bray, F. Foglini, A. Papadopoulos, F. De Leo, C. Kyriakidou, E. Voukouvalas, E. Papathanassiou, and F. Boero

I use primary empirical data obtained through interviews in case studies around England to explore the neoliberal character of biodiversity offsetting, its interrelationship with governance rescaling, and the way the latter influences the distribution of offsetting’s costs and benefits. My results show that biodiversity offsetting in England has been a reactionary neoliberal policy characterized by important deficits from an environmental and socio-spatial justice perspective.

Evangelia Apostolopoulou

Tropical forests are faced with a loss of forest cover with effects on ecosystem processes. We quantified decomposition within forest fragments and sites affected by increasing levels of agricultural land-use intensity. Mass loss increased with the area of forest fragments and decreased with land-use intensification. Fragmentation has negative effects on litter decomposition. However, the magnitude of this negative effect was not as large as expected.

G. H. Kagezi, M. Kaib, P. Nyeko, C. Bakuneeta, M. Schädler, J. Stadler, and R. Brandl

Lophodermium needle cast is a common disease in the genus Pinus. Our analyses relating needle cast to climate in central Siberia showed that the disease depended most on precipitation and summer temperatures were important to trigger the disease in wetter years. In a warming climate needle cast outbreaks would have damaged the largest forest areas by 2020. In 2080 the outbreak progression would slow down because the Scots pine (the host tree) shift would be halted by the slow permafrost retreat.

N. M. Tchebakova, N. A. Kuzmina, E. I. Parfenova, V. A. Senashova, and S. R. Kuzmin

The transition from a mobile hunter-gatherer lifestyle to one of settled agriculture is arguably the most fundamental change in the development of human society (Lev-Yadun et al., 2000). The establishment of agricultural economies, emerging initially in the Fertile Crescent of the Near East (Nesbitt, 2002), required the domestication of crops; ancient plant remains recovered from early farming sites provide direct evidence for this process of domestication.

V. Bonhomme, E. E. Forster, M. P. Wallace, E. C. Stillman, M. Charles, and G. Jones

Trees modify the physico-chemical and biological properties of the soil underneath. Here we present results for seven tree species planted at a site that was contaminated by a mine spill, after which soil was cleaned-up and remediated, and later was afforested. Although the observed tree effects on topsoil chemistry were weak, the footprint is expected to be reinforced with age of the plantation, contributing to the phytostabilization of contaminating elements and to the carbon sequestration.

T. Marañón, C. Navarro-Fernández, M.T. Domínguez, P. Madejón, and J.M. Murillo

The effects of tree diversity on the photosynthetic efficiency of tree species were assessed on six European mature forests (distributed along a latitudinal gradient) and in forest stands planted ad hoc with different levels of tree-species richness. The behaviour of Picea abies (spruce) was compared at the different sites. Site-specific responses were detected in relation to the age of the stands and their developmental stage.

F. Bussotti and M. Pollastrini

In this short paper, some consideration to the term biodiversity is given. The need for strong formal rigor in using this term is stressed in order to maintain credibility by non-ecologists and environmental agencies over the scientific community involved in biodiversity studies.

L. Contoli and L. Luiselli

Native invaders are species that become "invasive" in their own native range to the point of becoming a nuisance. This demographic disregulation presents management challenges, but we question the usefulness of this term on four grounds: it adds nothing to a well-known management problem, can bias the perception of management options, neglects different causes underlying the disregulation of native and non-indigenous species, and excludes species that can become antropogenically disregulated.

M. Méndez, A. Escudero, J. M. Iriondo, and R. M. Viejo

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