TitleCombatting global grassland degradation
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2021
AuthorsBardgett RD, Bullock JM, Lavorel S, Manning P, Schaffner U, Ostle N, Chomel M, Durigan G, Fry EL, Johnson D, Lavallee JM, Le Provost G, Luo S, Png K, Sankaran M, Hou X, Zhou H, Ma L, Ren W, Li X, Ding Y, Li Y, Shi H
Date Published09/2021

Grasslands provide key ecosystem services, but their protection is often ignored in sustainable policy. This Perspective describes grassland degradation and sets out the steps needed to protect these systems and promote their restoration.

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.