Combatting global grassland degradation

Richard Bardgett, James M Bullock, Sandra Lavorel, Peter Manning, Urs Schaffner, Nicholas J Ostle, Mathilde Chomel, Giselda Durigan, Ellen Fry, David Johnson, Jocelyn M. Lavallee, Gaëtane Le Provost, Shan Luo, G. Kenny Png, Mahesh Sankaran, Hou Xiangyang, Huakun Zhou, Li Ma, Ren Weibo, Li XiliangYong Ding, Li Yuanheng, Shi Hongxiao

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Grasslands are under severe threat from ongoing degradation, undermining their capacity to support biodiversity, ecosystem services and human well-being. Yet, grasslands are largely ignored in sustainable development agendas. In this Perspective, we examine the current state of global grasslands and explore the extent and dominant drivers of their degradation. Socio-ecological solutions are needed to combat degradation and promote restoration. Important strategies include: increasing recognition of grasslands in global policy; developing standardized indicators of degradation; using scientific innovation for effective restoration at regional and landscape scales; and enhancing knowledge transfer and data sharing on restoration experiences. Stakeholder needs can be balanced through standardized assessment and shared understanding of the potential ecosystem service trade-offs in degraded and restored grasslands. The integration of these actions into sustainability policy will aid in halting degradation and enhancing restoration success, and protect the socio-economic, cultural and ecological benefits that grasslands provide.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)720-735
Number of pages16
JournalNature Reviews. Earth & Environment
Issue number10
Early online date7 Sept 2021
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2021


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