This book includes papers presented at the 30th EUCARPIA Fodder Crops and Amenity Grasses Section Meeting.
Grasslands are among the largest ecosystems in the world and consequently are of great importance to human populations. They constitute a third of all agriculture land in Europe, and have played a major role in the development of agriculture and rural economy in many parts of Europe, from ancient times to the present day. Grasslands are an important source of animal feed, particularly for ruminants. They provide most of feeds, not only during the grazing season, but also during winter staple housing. In addition, grasslands both protect and utilise marginal soils that are unsuitable for arable cropping.
European grasslands provide the highest number of ecosystem services of all agricultural production systems. They preserve the biodiversity, including the forage species, and provide undisturbed habitats for species originally present in natural ecosystems. At the same time, grasslands protect soil, improve water quality and recover natural habitat through the reduction of nutrient losses, soil water evaporation and water and wind erosion, as well as by limiting leaching of nitrate and pesticides.
The genotypes of the species which are the main components of the grasslands have great influence on total outcome and successful utilization of grasslands. In order to adhere to the latest practices and trends in agriculture production and landscape architecture, it is therefore important to continuously improve fodder crops and turf swards. The wide range of breeding programs for forage and amenity species, as well as new breeding methods and techniques, is rapidly expanding the boundaries and is making it possible to achieve outstanding breeding results.
The challenging title of the book focuses on the breeding of quantitative traits, which directly impact the profitability and sustainability of grasslands and fodder crops production, as well as on multidisciplinary approach in grassland research and utilisation. The papers are grouped into five parts: Introduction, Genetic variability in forage productivity and quality and its exploitation through breeding, New biotechnology methods in sustainable breeding: strategies and implementation, Turf grass breeding and Breeding for new roles of multifunctional forage species. Together, these offer a unique collection of ideas and breakthroughs in the fields of fodder crops and amenity grasses breeding and genetics, as well as in the creative and innovative application of new tools in practical breeding.