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Linking Pasture Management & Delivery of Belowground Ecosystem Services

Speaker: Dr. Chris Wilson, University of Florida

In this seminar, Dr. Wilson will discuss two arms of his research program in pasture agroecology, and the potential for their integration to help scientists and land managers maintain healthy, productive landscapes in a world of increasing change. 

First, results will be discussed from two long-term plot studies investigating how grazing, plant composition, nutrient deposition, and precipitation reduction impact forage yield, as well as root production and turnover, and ultimately soil organic matter responses. Next, Dr. Wilson will present progress on development of a platform for satellite remote sensing of pasture production and quality in Florida, with the goal of helping scientists and land managers tap into the growing availability of ‘big data’ to optimize management over large scales. This will be followed by a discussion of the integration of the plot studies and the satellite data in a new process-based model of pasture growth, based on leaf area and radiation-use, using hierarchical Bayesian statistical methods to estimate biological parameters and generate realistic forecasts for ecosystem scientists and managers. The talk will  conclude with a consideration of some of the remaining challenges in linking the management of our agroecosystems aboveground to what happens belowground, and what current results might mean for the ability of grassland agriculture to help mitigate climate change,  and adapt to the increasing threat of climatic extremes while remaining healthy and productive.