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    General patterns of beavers’ selective foraging: how to evaluate the effects of a re-emerging driver of vegetation change along Central European small watercourses
    (Springer Nature, 2023-04-16) Juhász, Erika; Molnár, Zsolt; Bede-Fazekas, Ákos; Biró, Marianna
    Along small watercourses, the growth and renewal of native willows and poplars (Salicaceae species) are hindered by the effects of past and recent man-made landscape alteration and climate change, while the selective foraging of the beaver (Castor fiber) is also becoming an increasingly important driver. Knowledge about foraging decisions can refine predictions about vegetational processes and help to develop better nature conservation and forest management strategies. We surveyed the woody plant supply (13,304 units) and its utilization by the beaver at 11 study sites along Central European small watercourses, at two fixed distances from the water. We collected information about the taxon, trunk diameter, and type of utilization (cutting, carving, debarking) of each unit. We built (generalized) linear mixed models aimed at answering questions regarding taxon and diameter preference, their interrelatedness, and their importance in foraging decisions. All of the factors examined had a significant effect on foraging decisions. Utilization was mostly explained by the taxon, with Salicaceae species being generally preferred and utilized in all diameter classes with a high ratio. Several further genera were frequently utilized (mainly Cornus and Ulmus), while others were almost completely avoided (including invasive Amorpha and Robinia). The beavers preferred units with a diameter of 5–9 cm. The type of utilization depended primarily on diameter class. Because native softwoods are the most affected by beaver impact, regardless of trunk diameter, their survival and regrowth should be consciously supported by increasing the water table and improving hydrological conditions.
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    The value of ecosystem services in global marine kelp forests
    (Springer Nature, 2023-04-18) Eger, Aaron M.; Marzinelli, Ezequiel M.; Beas-Luna, Rodrigo; Blain, Caitlin O.; Blamey, Laura K.; Byrnes, Jarrett E. K.; Carnell, Paul E.; Choi, Chang Geun; Hassing-Lewis, Margot; Kim, Kwang Young; Kumagai, Naoki H.; Lorda, Julia; Moore, Pippa; Nakamura, Yohei; Pérez-Matus, Alejandro; Pontier, Ondine; Smale, Dan; Steinberg, Peter D.; Vergés, Adriana
    While marine kelp forests have provided valuable ecosystem services for millennia, the global ecological and economic value of those services is largely unresolved. Kelp forests are diminishing in many regions worldwide, and efforts to manage these ecosystems are hindered without accurate estimates of the value of the services that kelp forests provide to human societies. Here, we present a global estimate of the ecological and economic potential of three key ecosystem services - fisheries production, nutrient cycling, and carbon removal provided by six major forest forming kelp genera (Ecklonia, Laminaria, Lessonia, Macrocystis, Nereocystis, and Saccharina). Each of these genera creates a potential value of between $64,400 and $147,100/hectare each year. Collectively, they generate between $465 and $562 billion/year worldwide, with an average of $500 billion. These values are primarily driven by fisheries production (mean $29,900, 904 Kg/Ha/year) and nitrogen removal ($73,800, 657 Kg N/Ha/year), though kelp forests are also estimated to sequester 4.91 megatons of carbon from the atmosphere/year highlighting their potential as blue carbon systems for climate change mitigation. These findings highlight the ecological and economic value of kelp forests to society and will facilitate better informed marine management and conservation decisions.