The 17th EGC is pleased to welcome three keynote speakers.
Alfonso San Miguel
Department of Natural Systems and Resources, Polytechnic University of Madrid
Title: Diversity, management and conservation of natural and semi-natural grasslands in Spain
Alfonso San Miguel is full professor at the Department of Natural Systems and Resources, Polytechnic University of Madrid. He is a member of the Spanish Society of Pastures (President between 2010-2014) and the Spanish Society of Geobotany. He is also the Director of the National Parks Chair. His research topic is management and conservation of natural and semi-natural grasslands and rangelands and their associated biodiversity: flora and fauna. Some of his latest works deal with typology of natural and semi-natural grasslands in Spain, Types of Habitats of Community Interest and wild ungulate carrying capacity and management in Natural Protected Areas.
Spain is a country with an amazing diversity of natural and semi-natural grasslands. Most of them are included in old cultural landscapes and/or High nature value (HNV) farmland. That is why their conservation, and that of their associated biodiversity (flora, fauna, habitats of Community interest), requires suitable management. In his keynote lecture, Professor San Miguel will present an overview of the diversity of natural and semi-natural grasslands in Spain and their associated biodiversity, and also address their conservation status after changes in management during the last decades.
Institute of Botany, Slovak Academy of Sciences
(Banská Bystrica, Slovakia)
Title: Species-rich semi-natural grasslands of Europe – historical masterpieces of human-nature interaction
Monika Janišová is a vegetation ecologist focusing mainly on grasslands, their classification, biodiversity, succession, management and conservation. She is also interested in biogeography and endemism, as well as population biology and conservation of rare plants. Recently, the main subject of her research includes traditional ecological knowledge, bio-cultural heritage and sustainable agriculture in the Carpathian Mountains (Central and Eastern Europe).
Examples of positive impact of humans on ecosystem biodiversity are rare. One of the phenomenal examples are species-rich secondary grasslands of Europe, which were formed as a consequence of low-intensity farming. Their maintenance is a main goal of current grassland conservation. Through several examples from the Carpathian Mountains, Dr. Janišová will try to demonstrate: i) the importance of a deep knowledge of local history and traditions, which lead to the formation of each particular grassland; ii) the risks associated with substitution of traditional grassland management practices by their modern analogies; iii) the irreplaceable role of domestic animals in grassland conservation. Additionally, she will highlight approaches inspired by our ancestors (based on traditional ecological knowledge) that could help to maintain or increase grassland diversity for our descendants.
Frank Yonghong Li
School of Ecology and Environment, Inner Mongolia University
Title: Patterns, dynamics and conservation of the steppes on the Mongolian Plateau
Frank Yonghong Li (PhD 1992, Montpellier) is professor and dean of the School of Ecology and Environment, Inner Mongolia University, China. His research career includes many years in the Institute of Botany of Chinese Academy of Sciences (Beijing) and New Zealand AgResearch- Grasslands Research Center (Palm. North). His current research covers biodiversity conservation, ecosystem processes and multifunctioning, and restoration and adaptive management of grassland ecosystems under climate and land-use change.
In his keynote, Professor Yonghong Li will summarize the patterns and dynamics of the vast and continuous easternmost part of the Eurasian steppe, based on his field research experiences. He will discuss species diversity and vegetation dynamics in relation to climate and land-use changes, and present the status of, and challenges for, the conservation and sustainable management of these prestigious natural grasslands.