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Research priorities for grassland science: the need of long term integrated experiments networks

DOI: 10.1590/S1516-35982007001000012

Keywords: agro-ecology, environment, grassland science, research priorities, tertiary education.

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Abstract:

grasslands have to be considered not only as a mean for providing foods for domestic herbivore but also as an important biome of terrestrial biosphere. this function of grasslands as an active component of our environment requires specific studies on the role and impact of this ecosystem on soil erosion and soil quality, quality and quantity of water resources, atmosphere composition and greenhouse gas emission or sequestration, biodiversity dynamics at different scales from field plot to landscape. all these functions have to be evaluated in conjunction with the function of providing animal products for increasing human population. so multifunctionality of grasslands become a new paradigm for grassland science. environmental and biodiversity outputs require long term studies, being the long term retro-active processes within soil, vegetation and micro-organism communities in relation to changes in management programme. so grassland science needs to carry on long term integrated experimentation for studying all the environmental outputs and ecological services associated to grassland management systems.

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