EGC 2019: Species-rich grasslands in the Palaearctic – a treasure without economic value?
16th Eurasian Grassland Conference
in Graz, Austria and Maribor, Slovenia
29 May – 05 June 2019
Photos: Grazing milk cows on a species rich Cynosurion pasture near Neumarkt/Steiermark, Austria by M. Janišová, Graz city by GrazTourismus-Erwin Scheriau, Orchids-rich Mesobromion meadows in Haloze region by S. Škornik
Semi-natural grasslands in the Palaearctic biogeographical realm are exceptionally species rich; they are a treasure of nature. However, their values are often neglected in man’s thinking, either from the perspective of management of natural resources, policy measures – and even in the economic assessment. The aim of the 16th annual Eurasian Grassland Conference is to show possibilities, how Central European semi-natural grasslands can ensure important ecosystem functions and together still generate income to their owners.
In addition, it aims to promote networking and collaboration between those interested in all aspects of semi-natural and natural grassland research and conservation. The conference is intended to bring together the latest research and link this to practical management and policy, thereby contributing to the sustainability of semi-natural grasslands and their animal and plant resources.
Photos: Anacamptis pyramidalis by S. Škornik, Himantoglossum adriaticum by S. Škornik, Asphodelus albus with Narcissus radiiflorus by N. Pipenbaher
The conference will include the following sessions:
1. Do species rich grasslands still have economic value? Examples from farming and conservation practice
This topic is targeted specifically to people with practical experience or interest in generating economic value from species rich grasslands, for example producing and dealing with hayseed or high-quality milk or meat products. We hope we can establish a forum, that can bring together people with clever ideas that could help to promote them or could test them in other Eurasian regions.
2. Grassland conservation
This session welcomes all contributions to active conservation, conservation planning or grassland management, estimating threats to different taxonomical or syntaxonomical groups or to restoration of species rich grasslands.
3. Ethnobotanical contributions to grassland management practises
This is an experiment, influenced by our keynote speaker Zsolt Molnár. His ethnobotanical studies (together with his working group) generated a lot of knowledge about special management practices of traditional grassland farmers. It is rather obvious that such knowledge got lost during the industrialisation process of European agronomy of the last 50 years. At least some of these practices can help to find new, more sustainable techniques to manage species rich grasslands.
4. Biodiversity of Palaearctic grasslands
This session will cover all aspects of grassland classification and contributions to biodiversity of all taxonomical groups concerning grasslands.
This year's conference offers three keynote talks, three optional workshops and an optional post-conference excursion in addition to our standard talk and poster sessions, mid-conference excursion and grassland party. Considering how short of time the conference is, we decided, after long internal discussions, to offer three optional workshops parallel to the mid-excursion on 31 May (see the programme below). This year’s mid-conference excursion, a good tradition of the EGCs, will lead to the market community Neumarkt/Steiermark, 120 km north-west of Graz, visiting farmers generating their income generating their income by utilizing species rich grasslands.
- a workshop for scientific writing (guided by Jürgen Dengler),
- a bryophyte determining (guided by Christian Berg),
- the lichen determining workshop is cancelled due to low number of participants.
Furthermore on 29th May, there will be an optional workshop on Natura2000 Biogeographical Process facilitated by Theo van Sluis and his co-workers. Please read details in workshops page.
A three-day optional post-conference excursion will take place in Slovenia (2–5 June). Slovenia has very interesting position at the intersection of four major European geographical units, the Alps, the Dinaric Alps, the Mediterranean and the Pannonian plain. The participants will have the opportunity to see grassland landscapes of those geographic units, lean about flora and fanua as well as grassland use.
The conference will be held in the Botanical Garden of the Institute of Biology, Department of Plant Sciences of the Karl-Franzens-University of Graz. Graz, the second largest city of Austria (after Vienna) counts at about 280.000 inhabitants and is the capital of the province Styria. The six universities (the oldest is the Karl-Franzens-University, founded in 1585) have more than 60.000 students. It is a very beautiful town with a well-preserved medieval city centre (https://www.graztourismus.at/en). Please find detailed information in the Venue page.
Photos: The botanical garden by Zepp-Cam Furian & Seidl OEG, Graz City by GrazTourismus-Harry Schiffer
Thanks to our supporter (IAVS), we offer a limited number of travel grants to attend the EGC (partial or full coverage of travel costs and conference fee).
As in previous years, there will be Special Features (SFs) with selected contributions from the conference in international, peer-reviewed journals, guest-edited by EDGG members.
Young Investigator Prizes
As in previous years, prizes will be awarded to young scientists for excellent presentation of their research (talk or in poster form).