Semi-natural grasslands/heathlands represent an important land use providing important ecosystem services like biodiversity, carbon and nutrient storage/buffering and human recreation. The short vegetation and the co-existence of many different plant and animal species and/or functional types make these ecosystems particularly valuable “model ecosystems”, in which key ecosystem processes like species interactions/competition and ecosystem-level biogeochemical cycling may be investigated at relatively detailed spatial scales. Three existing facilities are included to facilitate research in these ecosystems.
The Kalø experimental facility focuses on combined effects of low doses of pesticide and nitrogen on semi-natural grassland communities with a current focus on long-term impacts on biodiversity and ecosystem functions. The experiments have been running continuously since 2001, when 31species were sown in a total of 120 plots and the facility offers a unique opportunity to study changes in vegetation composition, biodiversity, and individual plant traits. Planned upgrades include a LIDAR (light detection and ranging) instrument for increased temporal resolution in measurements of plant abundance and other traits.