This year's conference offers three keynote talks, two optional workshops and an optional post-conference excursion, in addition to the talk and poster sessions, mid-conference excursion and grassland party. We welcome Alfonso San Miguel, Monika Janišová and Frank Yonghong Li as our keynote speakers. The mid-conference excursion will take us to Aizkorri Natural Park (14th September), and a three-day optional post-conference excursion will take place mostly in Navarre (16–18th September), where participants will have the opportunity to enjoy grasslands and landscapes of three biogeographic regions: Atlantic, Mediterranean and Alpine. On 12th September, participants have the opportunity to participate in two workshops: i) Meet the Editors of high impact ecology and vegetation journals, ii) workshop on Orthoptera, led by Rocco Labadessa.
12th September Workshops, registration
12:00-17:30 Introduction to Orthoptera (lunch in between, after the room session)
17:30-18:30 Meet the editors
18:30-20:00 Registration and welcome drink
13th September Talks and Poster Sessions I and II
9:00-9:20 Opening ceremony
9:20-10:20 Keynote lecture by Alfonso San Miguel
10:20-11:30 Talks and posters, with coffee break at 11:05
13:30-15:00 Lunch in Zerkausia (see map)
15:00-16:00 Keynote lecture by Monika Janišová
16:00-19:00 Talks and posters, with coffer break at 17:00
19:00 Touristic tour
14th September Mid-Conference excursion, Grassland Party and Auction
8:00 Departure of buses from Navarra bridge (see map)
19:00 Grassland Party in Arantzazu with Auction
21:00 to 22:00 Departure of buses from Arantzazu to Tolosa
21:30 to 22:45 Arrival at Tolosa
15th September Talks and Poster Sessions III and IV
9:00-10:00 Keynote lecture by Frank Yonhong Li
10:00-13:30 Talks and poster, with coffee break at 11:00
13:30-15:00 Lunch in Zerkausia (see map)
15:00-17:45 Talks and posters, with coffee break at 16:45
17:45-19:00 General Assembly and Closing Ceremony
16-18th September Post-conference excursion (optional, max. 40 people)
16 September, 8:00 Departure from Tolosa (Navarra bridge)
18 September, 20:00 Arrival at Bilbao
Global change is a major threat of natural and semi-natural grasslands, which face important conservation challenges caused by land-use and climatic change. Palaearctic grasslands are among the most threatened in the world and include both natural grasslands (mainly alpine grasslands and steppes) and semi-natural grasslands used for animal husbandry. Due to several factors – land-use abandonment and intensification being the strongest – these grasslands have declined in extent, integrity and diversity. Their conservation is crucial, as Palaearctic grasslands account for almost 40% of the World’s grasslands and exhibit global maxima for fine-grain plant diversity. The 17th EGC aims to improve our knowledge of the diversity and management of Palaearctic grasslands in the face of global change.
The conference intends to emphasize the following topics in focused sessions:
1. Succession and species turnover in abandoned grasslands
Ecological succession leads to shrub and tree encroachment of semi-natural grasslands after land-use abandonment. This session welcomes contributions dealing with the effects of land-use abandonment in any type of grassland, including studies reporting data from permanent plots, monitoring of species and habitats, remote sensing, etc.
2. Biodiversity of urban grasslands
Urban grasslands across the Palaearctic are becoming a last refuge for endangered flora, fauna, and grassland habitats, especially when the surrounding rural landscapes experience either forest encroachment after abandonment, or management intensification through fertilization, afforestation or conversion to croplands. Therefore, throughout the Palaearctic, the potential value of urban grassland patches for the conservation of grassland biodiversity is increasing. This session will highlight studies focused on factors associated with diversity in urban grasslands, their contribution to the quality of urban life, and their conservation management.
3. Above and belowground grassland diversity
In the Palaearctic Realm, a major part of the biodiversity within most trophic levels and taxonomic groups is found in grasslands. This session will host studies dealing with alpha and beta diversity, at the taxonomic, phylogenetic or functional levels, including studies of plants, animals, fungi and bacteria. Studies relating diversity patterns to variation in land use are especially welcome.
4. Grassland conservation and global change
This session will focus on historical changes and future prospects on grassland extent and quality in the context of land-use trends and climate change. We encourage studies that examine the drivers of land-use change, grassland restoration, qualitative and quantitative changes in grassland cover, and studies of the impacts of conservation and management policies in the real world.
5. Classification of Palaearctic grasslands and other open habitats
This session welcomes contributions on the classification and survey of grasslands and other open habitats (e.g. wetlands, saline, dunes, screes, scrub) in the Palaearctic. Specially encouraged are contributions from Asia, North Africa and European regions lacking recent/comprehensive classifications of grasslands and other non-forest vegetation. We also call for studies that link phytosociological syntaxa to broadly defined habitat or vegetation types, both those used for conservation (e.g., EUNIS typology) or those applied in mapping and ecologic studies.
6. Conservation genetics
This session invites presentations on the use of genetic data to advance conservation goals for grassland plants, fungi and animals of all kinds that use grassland habitats. Studies of species delimitation, metagenomics, and environmental DNA are also welcome. Genetic studies may address natural populations or data resulting from experimental manipulations, reintroductions, or facilitated migration and dispersal. Preliminary and baseline data from newly established genetic monitoring programs are especially welcome.
Sheep herd grazing on Violion caninae, Gorbeia mountain, Basque Country. Photo: Juan Antonio Campos.