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WP 1: Biodiversity, productivity and feed value

Figure 1: Climate change effect on productivity (A) species richness (B). Productivity increases with increasing temperature (from left to right on the respective x-axis) as long as precipitation is not a limiting factor (like at Bayreuth), while species richness is continuously decreasing with increasing temperature
Figure 2: Field work in a sualpine and species-rich alpine grassland to assess climatic and land use effects on this habitat

The influence of climate change on productivity and biodiversity is influenced by the respective precipitation regime (Fig. 1). With increasing temperature productivity increased, as long as precipitation was not severely reduced, hence limiting productivity. In contrast to this, species loss was consistent with warming regardless of altered precipitation regimes. The most severe loss of species was observed in graminoid dominated communities.

The coupled effect of climate change and different land-use intensities revealed a higher productivity under intensive management as long as the climate conditions are suitable (“normal”). On the other hand, intensively managed communities suffered from an especially dry year (2018) whereas the extensive managed communities produced a constant amount of forage even under severe dry conditions. A frequent fertilization leads to a higher leaf-nitrogen content, hence a higher fodder quality.

The high mountain summer-pastures (Almen) revealed an unexpected high biodiversity, especially in comparison to the more intense agricultural practice at lower slopes and valley pastures. In future it needs to be tested if an extensive management of the high mountain pasture is able to conserve biodiversity.