The Harper Prize 2014 for the best paper published in Journal of Ecology by a young author has been officially awarded to Dr. Michiel Veldhuis during the last BES annual meeting in Edinburgh (Fig.1). His paper, “A novel mechanism for grazing lawn formation: large herbivore-induced modification of the plant–soil water balance”, provides new insights into herbivores’ effects on plant community composition by proposing an alternative water-based pathways to the existing nutrient-based pathways. Michiel did his work in savannas in South Africa (Fig. 2) and highlighted the drying effects of large herbivores, through decreased vegetation cover and soil compaction, especially during the dry season, which shape plant community composition of grazing lawns.
We conducted an interview with Michiel (below) to discuss and share with you the results of his research.
Associate Editor, Journal of Ecology