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  • 1 Szent István University Institute of Botany and Ecophysiology Gödöllő H-2103 Páter K. u. 1 Hungary
  • | 2 Plant Ecological Research Group of Hungarian Academy of Sciences and Szent István University Gödöllő H-2103 Páter K. u. 1 Hungary
  • | 3 University of Maribor Biology Department, Faculty of Natural Sciences and Mathematics Koroška 160 SI-2000 Maribor Slovenia
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This brief overview decribes some structural and functional (including carbon cycling) aspects of grassland ecosystems, in particular with regard to the effects of global climate change and changes in land use. Afterward the papers briefly introduce the papers devoted to the above mentioned topics, which were selected for this special volume. As we can see, authors studied different kinds of management (including abandonment) and different parameters of climate change (CO 2 , temperature, rainfall, etc.). They consider predominately vegetation parameters, including the various plant traits, carbon cycling, soil respiration and different ecophysiological traits in simulated climate change. Dealing with different impacts of climate and/or land-use changes on multi-species systems, that grassland communities certainly are, is exceeding merely experimental synthesized-community or single-species approach on one side and classical vegetation studies on the other. The complex responses of natural communities, including those under FACE systems, are not easy to interpret and understand. The importance of non-linear dynamics during climate changes is emphasized by Bartha et al. (2008). In these selected papers, grasslands appear to be a very dynamic and plastic ecosystem. Grasslands are highlighted from a new, much more topical point of view. Linking ecophysiology and vegetation science, which is characteristic for our selection of papers, is a promising tool to deal with problems on the ecosystem level in general, not only addressing the global climate change and land-use issues.

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