JVS Editors’ Award goes to Stephan Getzin and colleagues for the paper “Definition of “fairy circles” and how they differ from other common vegetation gaps and plant rings“.
AVS Editors’ Award goes to Sofía Campana and Laura Yahdjian for the paper “Plant quality and primary productivity modulate plant biomass responses to the joint effects of grazing and fertilization in a mesic grassland“.
The Synthesis article by Stephan Getzin, Hezi Yizhaq and Walter Tschinkel focuses on the intriguing, very regular, hexagonal arrangement of circular vegetation gaps (“fairy circles”) found under some arid climatic conditions. Based on their own fieldwork and literature review, they defined fairy circles as a specific phenomenon and compared it to other types of circular vegetation gaps and herbaceous rings.
The article by Sofía Campana and Laura Yahdjian addresses the important global issues of increasing nutrient loads and densities of grazing livestock. These processes —nutrient addition and grazing— can have interactive effects on plant biomass. The authors conducted a factorial experiment with grazing exclusion and fertilization in a mesic grassland over four years. The main result was that grazing significantly (by 52%) reduced above-ground plant biomass, and this reduction was even greater in combination with fertilization (70%). The mechanism was that the addition of nutrients increased both the biomass available for consumption and the leaf nutrient concentration, and these changes intensified grazing pressure and consumption. Thus, cattle were able to consume the additional biomass produced due to fertilization.