Tanulmánykötet a sztyeppei biodiverzitásról
Palaearctic steppes are the largest continuous terrestrial natural habitats of the world with high biodiversity at multiple scales. Steppe grasslands and adjacent forest steppes are key elements of natural vegetation in vast landscapes from Central and Eastern Europe to Northern China, spanning across the whole temperate zone of Eurasia and similar habitats in North Africa, Anatolia, and Iran. Steppes offer globally unique options for studies on biological patterns in a relatively homogeneous, yet spatially most extensive biome. Examples include evolution of biodiversity on a continental scale, effects of large climatic gradients on species performance, or ecosystem functioning under extreme and very variable conditions. Because typical steppes are characterized by fertile soils, they are subjected to large-scale degradation and area loss by intensive crop production or other forms of overuse especially in the Western part of their distribution zone. Conservation and restoration of steppe biodiversity have been identified as key priority for research and practice. Effective and sustainable steppe management does, however, depend on sound knowledge of the ecological properties and background mechanisms which are responsible for the sustainment of crucial ecological functions and services in pristine steppes. In this special issue we aim to give high emphasis on the most recent and novel research in steppe biodiversity and ecology. We thus invite studies dealing with any aspects of plant community ecology, plant traits, fire ecology, plant phenology, plant ecophysiology, plant reproductive biology, population genetics, ecological interactions, conservation, plant chorology and ecosystem functioning related to steppe ecosystems.