Production Ecology of British Moors and Montane Grasslands

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The International Biological Programme (IBP) was a cooperative effort on the part of scientists throughout the world, whose goal was an integrated study of the basic processes of biological productivity. The challenge of meeting the increasing food needs of a growing population demands optimum productivity from natural and managed ecosystems, which has not hitherto appeared to be compatible with the maintenance of environmental quality. The basic problem in natural resource development is how to transfer the high productivity and stability characteristic of natural ecosystems to managed ecosystems whose yield is in more useable form. The IBP studies aimed to investigate the basic production parameters of natural ecosystems, for use as base lines to assess the factors which control agricultural production (Worthington, 1975). It was realised that much was to be gained by close cooperation between the countries within IBP, to describe global patterns of production and to utilise fully the limited financial resources and scientifically qualified personel available in the various disciplines in individual countries. Within the Terrestrial Productivity section (PT) four major habitat types (Biomes) have been recognised-woodland, grassland, aridland and tundra. In each Biome the ecosystem structure and production, the interrelationships of the various components, and the factors influencing the operation of the systems, have been analysed.