This one may be too far off topic, but here's a paper on the recovery of the soil ecosystem following bush thinning in a bush-encroached savanna. Bush encroachment and desertification are damaging savanna habitats worldwide and contributing to the decline of wildlife populations in Africa. Bush thinning, in which most of the shrubs and trees are removed, is one way to try and restore the savanna to a better grass-bush balance. This paper looks at how the soil ecosystem responds to bush thinning.
Bush removal in a Namibian savanna
Posted 12 March 2016 - 01:12 PM
@Tom Kellie - very interesting. I was wondering because, for obvious reasons, field ecologists generally don't pay any attention to microbes.
There seems to be an increased interest in soil microbial ecology among Chinese scientists. I'm seeing a lot more papers coming out of China on this topic, and I know a small American company that sells an instrument for this purpose is selling a lot more to China than they used to. Perhaps this is a response by the scientific community to the well-documented environmental problems in China?
Posted 12 March 2016 - 01:33 PM
In my day, it often seemed that field ecologists were trained to pay more attention to microbes than anything else!
Our methodology, which my students utilize today, was to select a given area, get down on hands and knees and both collect and observe.
The tools and techniques weren't as sophisticated as what's available today but the results were sound. Obtained untainted, viable microbial samples was a major priority.
Microbes and the smallest invertebrates were and remain the bedrock of our studies, along with mineral and atmospheric samples.
Many of the researchers you mention may be my former students, hence they've picked up my interest, adding it to their ‘bag of tricks’.
The community of researchers here with an interest in this topic is very, very small.
Enough about this! It's best for me not to go on too much about the goings-on here.
I'm glad that you posted this paper. Due to severe Internet constraints, it's increasingly difficult to find, let alone read, many of the finest articles.