References of "Mahy, Grégory"
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See detailDeveloping biodiversity indicators on a stakeholders' opinions basis: the gypsum industry Key Performance Indicators framework.
Pitz, Carline ULg; Mahy, Grégory ULg; Vermeulen, Cédric ULg et al

in Environmental Science and Pollution Research (in press)

Aims: To establish a common Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) framework for reporting about the gypsum industry biodiversity at the European level. Methods: In order to integrate different opinions and to ... [more ▼]

Aims: To establish a common Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) framework for reporting about the gypsum industry biodiversity at the European level. Methods: In order to integrate different opinions and to reach a consensus framework, an original participatory process approach has been developed among different stakeholder groups: Eurogypsum, European and regional authorities, universities scientists, consulting offices, European and regional associations for the conservation of nature and the extractive industry. The strategy is developed around four main steps: (i) building of a maximum set of indicators to be submitted to stakeholders based on the literature (Focus Group method); (ii) evaluating the consensus about indicators through a policy Delphi survey aiming at the prioritization of indicator classes using the Analytic Hierarchy Process method (AHP) and of individual indicators; (iii) testing acceptability and feasibility through analysis of Environmental Impact Assessments (EIAs) and visits to three European quarries; (iv) Eurogypsum final decision and communication. Results: The resulting framework contains a set of 11 indicators considered the most suitable for all the stakeholders. Conclusions: Our KPIs respond to European legislation and strategies for biodiversity. The framework aims at improving sustainability in quarries and at helping to manage biodiversity as well as to allow the creation of coherent reporting systems. The final goal is to allow for the definition of the actual biodiversity status of gypsum quarries and allow for enhancing it. The framework is adaptable to the local context of each gypsum quarry. [less ▲]

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See detailChallenges for the restoration of dry calcareous grasslands in quarries: does nature need help?
Pitz, Carline ULg; Piqueray, Julien; Harzé, Mélanie ULg et al

Conference (2015, August 26)

In order to maximize the biodiversity potential of dry calcareous grasslands in former quarries two options are available to managers: (i) allow species to spontaneously recolonize the site, (ii ... [more ▼]

In order to maximize the biodiversity potential of dry calcareous grasslands in former quarries two options are available to managers: (i) allow species to spontaneously recolonize the site, (ii) implement technical support for ecosystem restoration. This study aimed at characterizing the spontaneous communities established in dry area of unexploited quarries and at comparing communities encountered to the succession panel of dry grasslands. To evaluate the ecological succession in quarries, three successional stages where defined: (i) less than three years; (ii) three to 20 years; and (iii) more than 20 years after exploitation. For each successional stage, six parcels were selected and 20 1m2 plots were randomly marked in each parcel. All selected parcels presented dry grasslands abiotic conditions: filtering and stony soils and south orientation. During the 2014 vegetation period, percentage cover of higher plant species was recorded in each plot. Explaining environmental variables including coordinates, altitude, slope (degrees), soil depth, exposure, maximum vegetation height, bare ground cover, moss cover, and shrub cover (%) were measured. Our main results showed that, over decades of time, the ecological succession in dry area of unexploited quarries does not approach a typical formation of dry calcareous grassland. Most recolonizations tended to form meadows communities, except for three sites belonging to a specific landscape context. Potential implications for future quarries restoration will be discussed. [less ▲]

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See detailPromoting quarries biodiversity through partnerships: a Belgian case study
Seleck, Maxime ULg; Harzé, Mélanie ULg; Pitz, Carline ULg et al

Conference (2015, August 25)

Throughout the life cycle of quarries, a large diversity of temporary habitats is generated, sometimes left to evolve to more permanent ones. In many cases, the biological roles of quarries are neglected ... [more ▼]

Throughout the life cycle of quarries, a large diversity of temporary habitats is generated, sometimes left to evolve to more permanent ones. In many cases, the biological roles of quarries are neglected though they are playing a significant role as stepping-stones and regulating green infrastructure in landscapes. In highly urbanized and controlled landscapes, quarries are an exceptional opportunity to maintain rare and threatened transient habitats hosting fugitive species. Such ephemeral biodiversity is hard to manage through a site legal protection status. As exploitation progresses, more permanent, biodiverse habitats settle in abandoned areas but the biologic potential could also be maximized by optimized groundwork through the whole exploitation process. Exploitation plans taking into consideration biodiversity could allow maximizing quarry biodiversity hosting capacity during the exploitation phase and in further rehabilitation schemes. Since 2012 Gembloux Agro-Bio Tech (University of Liège) provides support to FEDIEX - the Belgian federation of extractive industries – in its implementation of a sectorial charter on “Quarries and Biodiversity” that aims at i) raising members’ awareness; ii) promoting the integration of practical recommendations for the protection and management of biodiversity in exploitation plans; iii) quarries’ personnel trainings. Our presentation will trace realizations undertaken under this collaboration, among which the “Mr/Ms Biodiversity” training organized in 2013, 2014 and 2015, the publication of folders popularising the management and enhancement of nature in active quarries and the collaboration in the redaction of a “LIFE in Quarries” project (LIFE Biodiversity) submitted for the 2014 LIFE call. [less ▲]

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See detailPromoting quarries biodiversity through partnerships: a Belgian case study
Seleck, Maxime ULg; Lussis, Benoit; Harzé, Mélanie ULg et al

Conference (2015, June 17)

Throughout the life cycle of quarries, a large diversity of temporary habitats is generated, sometimes left to evolve to more permanent ones. In many cases, the biological roles of quarries are neglected ... [more ▼]

Throughout the life cycle of quarries, a large diversity of temporary habitats is generated, sometimes left to evolve to more permanent ones. In many cases, the biological roles of quarries are neglected though they are playing a significant role as stepping-stones and regulating green infrastructure in landscapes. In highly urbanized and controlled landscapes, quarries are an exceptional opportunity to maintain rare and threatened transient habitats hosting fugitive species. Such ephemeral biodiversity is hard to manage through a site legal protection status. As exploitation progresses, more permanent, biodiverse habitats settle in abandoned areas but the biologic potential could also be maximized by optimized groundwork through the whole exploitation process. Exploitation plans taking into consideration biodiversity could allow maximizing quarry biodiversity hosting capacity during the exploitation phase and in further rehabilitation schemes. In 2012, FEDIEX - the Belgian federation of extractive industries - committed itself to a sectorial charter on “Quarries and Biodiversity”. The charter defines an action plan based on three main axes: i) raising members’ awareness; ii) promoting the integration of practical recommendations for the protection and management of biodiversity in exploitation plans; iii) quarries’ personnel trainings. Since 2012 FEDIEX engaged in a partnership with Gembloux Agro-Bio Tech (University of Liège). Our presentation will trace realizations undertaken under this collaboration, among which the “Mr/Ms Biodiversity” training organized in 2013, 2014 and 2015, the publication of folders popularising the management and enhancement of nature in active quarries and the collaboration in the redaction of a “LIFE in Quarries” project (LIFE Biodiversity) submitted for the 2014 LIFE call. [less ▲]

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See detailEtude de la flore spontanée de la carrière de Loën (Belgique) pour de futures restaurations
Pitz, Carline ULg; Monty, Arnaud ULg; Piqueray, Julien et al

Conference (2015, March 04)

Afin de maximiser le potentiel de biodiversité d’une carrière en fin d’exploitation deux options s’offrent au gestionnaire : (1) laisser les espèces recoloniser spontanément le site, (2) mettre en œuvre ... [more ▼]

Afin de maximiser le potentiel de biodiversité d’une carrière en fin d’exploitation deux options s’offrent au gestionnaire : (1) laisser les espèces recoloniser spontanément le site, (2) mettre en œuvre des appuis techniques à la restauration d’écosystèmes. Une méthode hybride associant une recolonisation naturelle et une assistance technique peut également être une opportunité pour le gestionnaire. La recolonisation spontanée des carrières peut, dans certains cas, créer une mosaïque d’habitats diversifiés pour des coûts faibles par rapport à des projets de réhabilitation ou de restauration couteux. Toutefois, l’intérêt biologique des habitats issus de successions spontanées peut fortement varier d’un site à l’autre en fonction de l’historique de gestion, des conditions climatiques et édaphiques locales, de l’isolement du site dans le paysage et du pool régional d’espèces présentes. Afin d’évaluer la nécessité ou non de mise en œuvre d’une restauration active d’habitats en carrière, il est nécessaire de caractériser les habitats issus de la succession spontanée ainsi que leur valeur biologique. L’évaluation de l’intérêt biologique d’un habitat prend en compte à la fois la diversité biologique locale (diversité alpha) et l’originalité des communautés présentes par rapport à un référentiel paysager (diversité béta). Ce projet a pour objectif de caractériser la flore recolonisant spontanément les zones xériques non exploitées dans une carrière située en Belgique (Loën, en région wallonne), du point de vue de la diversité spécifique et de la fonctionnalité écologique. Les communautés végétales ont été caractérisées au sein du site de Loën (diversité alpha) et d’un ensemble d’autres carrières représentatives de la diversité des contextes géographiques des carrières calcaires en Région wallonne (diversité béta). [less ▲]

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See detailAssessment of soil metal distribution and environmental impact of mining in Katanga (Democratic Republic of Congo)
Pourret, Olivier; Lange, Bastien; Bonhoure, Jessica et al

in Applied Geochemistry (2015)

Metal and metalloid (As, Cd, Co, Cu, Pb and Zn) distribution in soils from the Katanga Copperbelt (Democratic Republic of Congo) is investigated in order to characterize the environmental impacts of ... [more ▼]

Metal and metalloid (As, Cd, Co, Cu, Pb and Zn) distribution in soils from the Katanga Copperbelt (Democratic Republic of Congo) is investigated in order to characterize the environmental impacts of mining and smelting activities in that area. The concentrations of Cu, Co, As, Zn, Pb and Cd in soils from mining sites are higher than in non-metalliferous sites and above permissible metal and metalloid concentrations in soils. Moreover, the fractionation and mobility of Co, and Cu in such environment is assessed using the application of both ammonium acetate-EDTA extraction and speciation modeling (WHAM 6). The resulting data set covers wide range of environmental conditions (pH, trace metals concentration, natural soils and soils affected by mining and ore processing). These extractions show that only a small fraction of Cu and Co is mobile, with variation depending on sites: mobility is higher in soils affected by mining and ore processing. The strong affinity of Mn-oxides for Co may explain lower Co mobility in Mn-rich soils. The high Mn and Fe contents of Cu-Co soils from Katanga may actually exert a protective effect against the toxic effects of Co. Finally, Cu-Co speciation modeling of contaminated sites emphasizes that organic matter strongly sorb Cu whereas Co speciation is mostly by Mn content. This type of study leads to a better understanding of metal fractionation and can guide to define different practices of phytoremediation. © 2015 Elsevier Ltd. [less ▲]

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See detailPlant functional traits as a promising tool for the ecological restoration of degraded tropical metal-rich habitats and revegetation of metal-rich bare soils: A case study in copper vegetation of Katanga, DRC
Ilunga wa Ilunga, Edouard; Mahy, Grégory ULg; Piqueray, Julien et al

in Ecological Engineering (2015), 82

Ecological restoration of degraded metal-rich habitats and bare metal-rich soils created by mining activities has nowadays become a major environmental issue to reduce mining impacts on the erosion of ... [more ▼]

Ecological restoration of degraded metal-rich habitats and bare metal-rich soils created by mining activities has nowadays become a major environmental issue to reduce mining impacts on the erosion of biodiversity and the degradation of landscape, soil and water.Studies based on species identification for restoration purposes without reference to plant trait are limited only to local pool of species which makes the interpretation and applications in various ecological contexts rather difficult. This study aims at trait analysis of metal-rich habitats in order to test the differences in plant traits in degraded primary habitat and along a successional gradient in secondary habitats. In this context, investigation of the existence of resilience or the need for ecological restoration is attempted. A second aim of this work is also the identification of traits candidates for appropriate species selection for revegetation of metal-rich bare soils purposes.Results showed that the cover of xylopodia trait values decreases according to the intensity of degradation among habitats, and can be considered an indicator of habitat degradation. Differences of traits values among primary and old secondary habitats highlighted that the absence of resilience of degraded primary steppic savanna was not explained by 14 soil factors measured.The main plant traits for revegetation of metal-rich bare soils are the following: annual life cycle, growth phenology in wet season, depth 0-10. cm of underground system. , bud bank by seeds, dispersule size <2. mm. ×. 2. mm and dispersal mode by adhesion.Future challenge would be to develop new functional ecosystem on metal-rich bare soils promoting biodiversity conservation and ecosystem services related to water and soil protection. This would require the association of species selected for revegetation and phytostabilization from plant traits occurring in secondary metalliferous habitats and species selected from plant traits specific to primary habitats. © 2015 Elsevier B.V. [less ▲]

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See detailDo large scale restoration projects reduce within-species traits variability? - Présentées à 2 congrès
Harzé, Mélanie ULg; Monty, Arnaud ULg; Mahy, Grégory ULg

Conference (2015)

Dry calcareous grasslands represent local biodiversity hotspots of European temperate regions. They have suffered intensive fragmentations due to due to the abandonment of traditional agropastoral systems ... [more ▼]

Dry calcareous grasslands represent local biodiversity hotspots of European temperate regions. They have suffered intensive fragmentations due to due to the abandonment of traditional agropastoral systems and the resulting encroachment, reforestation, urbanization or transformation into arable lands. In order to preserve and enhance their ecological value, a series of ecological restoration projects have been implemented throughout Europe (LIFE+). As habitats restoration costs can be prohibitive, actions should demonstrate their success. In the face of environmental changes, restored populations should possess attributes necessary for adaptive evolutionary changes allowing them to persist over the long term. Intra-population functional variability expresses the range of possible trait values of a species living in a heterogeneous environment. It results notably from genetic diversity and phenotypic plasticity and enables species survival, growth and reproduction under various environmental conditions. In Belgium, three European LIFE projects have taken place between 2000 and 2009, restoring more than 400 hectares of calcareous grasslands. Restorations have mainly been evaluated in terms of plant species diversity and community composition. Though it is expected to be of crucial importance for species evolutionary potential, the restoration of the entire range of environmental heterogeneity and the resulting intra-population functional variability of restored population have so far not been assessed. We compared the intra-population variability of functional traits (specific leaf area (SLA) and maximum vegetative height) of 10 restored and 10 reference populations of Potentilla neumanniana (30 individuals per populations). We characterized abiotic and biotic conditions by measuring soil depth, sun exposure, bare ground cover and mean vegetation height around each sampled individual. Our main results showed that the range of within-species functional variability was restored in our study area. We will conclude with implications for the evolutionary potential of restored populations and for future ecological restoration projects. [less ▲]

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See detailSpecialist plant species harbour higher reproductive performances in recently restored calcareous grasslands than in reference habitats
Harzé, Mélanie ULg; Mahy, Grégory ULg; Bizoux, Jean-Philippe ULg et al

in Plant Ecology and Evolution (2015), 148(2),

Background and aims_Calcareous grasslands are local biodiversity hotspots in temperate regions that suffered intensive fragmentation. Ecological restoration projects took place all over Europe. Their ... [more ▼]

Background and aims_Calcareous grasslands are local biodiversity hotspots in temperate regions that suffered intensive fragmentation. Ecological restoration projects took place all over Europe. Their success has traditionally been assessed using a plant community approach. However, population ecology can also be useful to assess restoration success and to understand underlying mechanisms. Methods_We took advantage of three calcareous grassland sites in Southern Belgium, where reference parcels coexist with parcels restored in the late twentieth century and with more recently restored parcels. We evaluated the colonization stage of three specialist species (Sanguisorba minor, Potentilla neumanniana and Hippocrepis comosa) using occurrence data. We also measured the reproductive traits of 120 individuals per species and compared components of fitness between recent restorations, old restorations and reference habitats. Key results_We found that the occurrence of H. comosa was similar in the different restoration classes, whereas both P. neumanniana and S. minor occurrences decreased from reference grasslands to recent restorations. In contrast, these two latter species exhibited a much higher reproductive output in recent restorations, thanks to an increased production of flowers and seeds. Conclusions_Our results suggest that, during colonization of recently restored calcareous grasslands, favourable environmental conditions, low competition and sufficient genetic mixing may lead to an increased fitness of individuals and a faster population growth than in the reference habitat. These results demonstrate how population processes can increase ecological resilience and highlight the interest of a population-based approach to assess the success of ecological restoration. [less ▲]

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See detailCaractérisation des systèmes sols-plantes dans les collines de l’arc cuprifère du Katanga (synthèse bibliographique)
Kaya Muyumba, Donato; Liénard, Amandine ULg; Mahy, Grégory ULg et al

in Biotechnologie, Agronomie, Société et Environnement = Biotechnology, Agronomy, Society and Environment [=BASE] (2015), 19(2), 204-214

Introduction: The Copper belt of Katanga presents huge resources of Cu and Co-ore. On the copper hills, mineralized rocks outcrop and a specific flora did develop as a response to the high levels of Cu ... [more ▼]

Introduction: The Copper belt of Katanga presents huge resources of Cu and Co-ore. On the copper hills, mineralized rocks outcrop and a specific flora did develop as a response to the high levels of Cu and Co in soil. Soil-vegetation relationships need to be understood in order to elaborate biodiversity conservation programs prior to industrial mining of the copper hills. Literature: This paper reviews knowledge about soil characterization in the copper hills of Katanga and makes proposals for further research about the influence of the very specific chemical conditions of contaminated soils on the vegetation. The focus was put on the geochemical background and the bioavailability of Cu and Co. A lot of progress has been made recently about identification of soil-vegetation relationships. Conclusion: However, the issue of Cu and Co mobility within soil-plant systems is not entirely solved. [less ▲]

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See detailToward and old-growth concept for grasslands, savannas, and woodlands
Veldman, Joseph W; Buisson, Elise; Durigan, Giselda et al

in Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment (2015), 13(3), 154162

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See detailUn partenariat pour promouvoir la biodiversité dans les carrières belges
Harzé, Mélanie ULg; Lussis, Benoît; Boisson, Sylvain ULg et al

Conference (2015)

Plus que toute autre industrie, les carrières entretiennent un lien étroit avec les écosystèmes. L’exploitation d’une carrière crée des conditions abiotiques propices au développement d’une mosaïque ... [more ▼]

Plus que toute autre industrie, les carrières entretiennent un lien étroit avec les écosystèmes. L’exploitation d’une carrière crée des conditions abiotiques propices au développement d’une mosaïque d’habitats comme les falaises et arènes rocheuses, les plans d’eau temporaires ou les pelouses pionnières, favorables à certaines espèces protégées en Europe comme le hibou grand-duc et le crapaud calamite. Nombre d’entre eux sont d’intérêt communautaire et sont devenus rares dans le Nord de l’Europe. Ces habitats temporaires s’installent souvent spontanément pendant l’exploitation d’une carrière mais une action conservatoire peut s’avérer nécessaire pour leur conservation sur le long terme. En fin de vie de la carrière une restauration écologique adéquate pourra favoriser l’installation de milieux plus permanents d’intérêt. Afin de promouvoir le développement de cette biodiversité, une planification réfléchie des plans d’exploitation et de réhabilitation est nécessaire. La fédération des industries extractives belge FEDIEX s’est engagée en 2012 avec la Région wallonne dans une charte sectorielle « carrières et biodiversité », définissant un plan d’action basé sur trois axes principaux : (1) la sensibilisation des membres ; (2) la diffusion de recommandations pratiques pour intégrer la protection et la gestion de la biodiversité dans les plans l’exploitation ; (3) la formation du personnel des carrières. Dans ce cadre, l’unité Biodiversité et paysage de la Faculté de Gembloux Agro-Bio Tech (Université de Liège) collabore depuis 2012 avec la FEDIEX. Notre présentation portera sur les réalisations de cette collaboration ; notamment les formations « Carrières et Biodiversité » organisées à l’attention du secteur carrier, les résultats des actions concrètes mise en place en carrière, les documents de vulgarisation réalisés afin de donner aux gestionnaires les clés pour gérer et restaurer différents habitats et espèces protégées et notre collaboration à la rédaction d’un projet LIFE Biodiversity «LIFE in quarries » qui a été présenté à l’union européenne. [less ▲]

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See detailTyranny of Trees in Global Climate Change Mitigation
Veldman, Joseph W.; Overbeck, Gerhard; Negreiros, Daniel et al

in Science (2015), 347(6221)

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See detailResponse of plant functional traits during the restoration of calcareous grasslands from forest stands
Piqueray, Julien; Ferroni, Lucia; Delescaille, Louis-Marie et al

in Ecological Indicators (2015)

In this survey, we studied the response of plant functional traits to calcareous grassland restoration in the Calestienne region, Southern Belgium (restoration protocol: forest clear-cutting followed by ... [more ▼]

In this survey, we studied the response of plant functional traits to calcareous grassland restoration in the Calestienne region, Southern Belgium (restoration protocol: forest clear-cutting followed by grazing at all sites). We considered traits related to dispersal, establishment, and persistence that integrate the main challenges of plants to re-establish and survive in restored areas. Functional traits were compiled from databases and compared among (i) pre-restoration and young restoration forests; (ii) restoration areas of different ages; and (iii) old restorations and reference grasslands. The following questions were addressed: (i) What is the early response (2-4 years) in terms of plant functional trait following one restorative clear-cut event? (ii) What plants functional trait responses occur from restorative management (i.e. sheep and goat grazing)? (iii) Which differences still persist between the oldest restored parcels (10-15 years), and the historical reference grasslands? Forest clear-cuts induced several changes among functional traits, including decreased mean seed mass and certain vegetative traits (i.e. decreased phanerophytes, branching species; and increased short lifespan species i.e. annuals and biennials). During restorative management, clonal, epizoochorous and autumn germinating species were favored. Despite numerous other changes during this phase, many differences remained compared to reference grasslands. In particular, geophytes, mycorrhizal and evergreen species abundance were not approaching reference grassland values. The observed pattern helped to draw inferences on the possible mechanisms operating under vegetation recovery following restorative forest clear-cut and subsequent management were identified and described in this study. Results indicated grazing was an important factor, which increased epizoochorous species, and autumn germinating taxa that filled niches in vegetation opened by summer grazing animals. Finally, differences between old restoration and reference grasslands emphasized that management should focus on reduction in soil fertility, and geophyte rhizomatous grasses. Long-term monitoring is vital to assess if management plans are effective in the complete restoration of species functional trait assemblages. [less ▲]

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See detailEtude de la flore spontanée de la carrière de Loën pour de futures restaurations - Résultats
Pitz, Carline ULg; Mahy, Grégory ULg; Monty, Arnaud ULg et al

Conference given outside the academic context (2014)

Ce projet a pour objectif de caractériser la flore recolonisant spontanément les zones xériques non exploitées récemment de la carrière de Loën, du point de vue de la diversité spécifique et de la ... [more ▼]

Ce projet a pour objectif de caractériser la flore recolonisant spontanément les zones xériques non exploitées récemment de la carrière de Loën, du point de vue de la diversité spécifique et de la fonctionnalité écologique. Les communautés végétales ont été caractérisées au sein du site de Loën (diversité alpha) et d’un ensemble d’autres carrières représentatives de la diversité des contextes géographiques des carrières calcaires en Région Wallonne (diversité béta). L’étude a montré que, sur des laps de temps de plusieurs décennies, un processus de succession écologique s’est mis en place au sein du site de Loën, mais que cette succession ne tend pas vers une formation typique de pelouse sèche. Les explications peuvent être d’une part, que la disponibilité et l’apport de graines de pelouses sèches avoisinantes est insuffisant, et d’autre part, que le contexte abiotique pourrait être plus favorable à d’autres types de végétations herbacées. Cette étude illustre que des expériences de semis seraient souhaitable afin de définir les objectifs de restauration de la carrière de Loën et des carrières qui se trouvent dans des situations comparables. [less ▲]

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See detailThe Eurogypsum list of biodiversity indicators: a tool to increase biodiversity capacity in the gypsum industry.
Pitz, Carline ULg; Mahy, Grégory ULg

Conference given outside the academic context (2014)

The resulting framework contains eleven indicators which are the most acceptable set of indicators for all the stakeholders. It answers to European legislation and strategies for biodiversity. It is ... [more ▼]

The resulting framework contains eleven indicators which are the most acceptable set of indicators for all the stakeholders. It answers to European legislation and strategies for biodiversity. It is intended to improve sustainability in the quarries and to help managing biodiversity, to allow setting up of appropriate reporting systems. The aim is to maintain the biodiversity status of the gypsum quarries. It is a flexible framework adaptable given the local context of each gypsum quarry in order to prove if a No Net Loss has been reached at a quarry’s scale. [less ▲]

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See detailGreen roofs and facades : toward food and biodiversity functions
Mahy, Grégory ULg; Jijakli, Haissam ULg

Scientific conference (2014, November 12)

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See detailDisentangling the sources of phenotypic variation in Ambrosia artemisiifolia L.: the role of seed traits
Ortmans, William ULg; Monty, Arnaud ULg; Mahy, Grégory ULg

Poster (2014, November 03)

When invading new environments, a plant invader may express new phenotypes as a result of different ecological and genetic processes. It includes phenotypic plasticity, local adaptation, environmental ... [more ▼]

When invading new environments, a plant invader may express new phenotypes as a result of different ecological and genetic processes. It includes phenotypic plasticity, local adaptation, environmental maternal effects, and genetic drift. The quantification of each of these factors is crucial in the study of biological invasions. Ambrosia artemisiifolia L. invasion success is strongly linked to seed characteristics (dispersal by human activities, long-lived soil seed bank, etc.). Known as an opportunist and a colonizer, the species is often limited by the competition from other plants. In the early stages of development, the seedlings can be quickly outcompeted and a rapid growth is therefore a major advantage. First, this study aims to analyze the seed traits variation, and to detect an impact of these traits on the early development of the seedling (environmental maternal effect). Second, we aimed to quantify the respective role of phenotypic plasticity, environmental maternal effect, local adaptation and genetic drift on seedlings phenotype. Variability of seeds from 3 geographical zones (Belgium – Centre of France – South of France) was assessed. We measured the seed variation in mass, length, width, circularity, and pigmentation. Seeds were disposed in growth chamber under two temperature treatments. After two months, we compared seedling phenotypic variation in germination time, height, aboveground biomass, belowground biomass, early competitive performance, and the final leaf area. We found a high variability of seed traits. Seeds were varying significantly among zones, populations, and parents, with more than 30% of the variation attributable to the mother plant identity. The main sources of seedling phenotypic variation appeared to be phenotypic plasticity and environmental maternal effect. No genetic differentiation was detected in this study. Seed mass was positively correlated to seedling biomass, early competitive performance, and the final leaf area. The relevance of traits reflecting environmental maternal effect is discussed. Phenotypic plasticity and seed characteristics appear to play a major role in the invasion success. [less ▲]

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