Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Rare Chalk Grassland Takes 50 Years To Recover From Military Use

Date:
June 19, 2005
Source:
Blackwell Publishing Ltd.
Summary:
Rare and fragmented chalk grasslands may take at least half a century to recover from the damage done to them by military training, according to new research published in the British Ecological Society's Journal of Applied Ecology. Dr Rachel Hirst and colleagues found that, while neutral (mesotrophic) grasslands took between 30 and 40 years to re-establish after disturbance during military training, areas of chalk grassland took at least 50 years to recover.

Rare and fragmented chalk grasslands may take at least half a century to recover from the damage done to them by military training, according to new research published in the British Ecological Society's Journal of Applied Ecology.

Related Articles


Working with historical aerial photographs taken on the Salisbury Plain Training Area between 1945 and 1995, Dr Rachel Hirst and colleagues from the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology and the University of Liverpool identified 82 sites from which they sampled vegetation and soil. They found that, while neutral (mesotrophic) grasslands took between 30 and 40 years to re-establish after disturbance during military training, areas of chalk grassland took at least 50 years to recover.

The long-lasting damage is due not only to vegetation being destroyed by tanks and shelling but also by soil compaction. According to Hirst: "Large military vehicles can change the horizontal and vertical structure of vegetation communities through the crushing and cutting of vegetation, and soil compaction effects decrease soil microporosity and rainfall infiltration capacity, altering nutrient availability and restricting root growth."

Covering 38,000 hectares, Salisbury Plain Training Area is the largest military training area in the UK, and the only training area suitable for large-scale tactical armoured vehicle exercises. However, it is also one of the largest Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) in the UK, containing the largest expanse of unimproved chalk grassland in north-west Europe - a habitat of particular conservation interest.

The findings not only have implications for how the Ministry of Defence manages the more than 250 SSSIs in its training areas, but also how much pressure certain areas of the countryside can bear from the increasing use of off-road vehicles.

"Chalk grasslands remain a rare and fragmented habitat type in north-west Europe, and outside Salisbury Plain, the rolling chalk downlands of southern England, much of which enjoy statutory protection, provide recreational resources for walking, horse riding and cycling. These activities cannot take place without some localised habitat disturbance, but can be managed more effectively if the ecosystem dynamics are better understood. Appreciation of the length of time that intensively disturbed grassland can take to re-establish may encourage more effective control measures at other sites," Hirst says.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Blackwell Publishing Ltd.. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Blackwell Publishing Ltd.. "Rare Chalk Grassland Takes 50 Years To Recover From Military Use." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 19 June 2005. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/06/050619081937.htm>.
Blackwell Publishing Ltd.. (2005, June 19). Rare Chalk Grassland Takes 50 Years To Recover From Military Use. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 19, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/06/050619081937.htm
Blackwell Publishing Ltd.. "Rare Chalk Grassland Takes 50 Years To Recover From Military Use." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/06/050619081937.htm (accessed April 19, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Earth & Climate News

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Nervous Return to Everest a Year After Deadly Avalanche

Nervous Return to Everest a Year After Deadly Avalanche

AFP (Apr. 18, 2015) In the Himalayan town of Lukla, excitement mingles with fear as mountaineers make their way up to Everest a year after an avalanche killed 16 guides and triggered an unprecedented shut-down of the world&apos;s highest peak. Duration: 00:37 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
L.A. Water Cops Remind Residents of Water Conservation

L.A. Water Cops Remind Residents of Water Conservation

Reuters - US Online Video (Apr. 18, 2015) "Water cops" in Los Angeles remind the public about water conservation methods amid California&apos;s prolonged drought. Julie Noce reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Planet Defence Conference Tackles Asteroid Threat

Planet Defence Conference Tackles Asteroid Threat

AFP (Apr. 17, 2015) Scientists gathered at a European Space Agency (ESA) facility outside Rome this week for the Planetary Defence Conference 2015 to discuss how to tackle the potential threat from asteroids hitting Earth. Duration: 00:54 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Gulf Scarred, Resilient 5 Years After BP Spill

Gulf Scarred, Resilient 5 Years After BP Spill

AP (Apr. 17, 2015) Five years after the Deepwater Horizon spill in the Gulf of Mexico, splotches of oil still dot the seafloor and wads of tarry petroleum-smelling material hide in pockets in the marshes of Barataria Bay. (April 17) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins