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ARS Home » Northeast Area » University Park, Pennsylvania » Pasture Systems & Watershed Management Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #250450

Title: Balancing Tradeoffs in Ecosystem Functions and Services in Grassland Management

item Sanderson, Matt
item Watzold, Frank

Submitted to: Grassland Science in Europe
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: 5/1/2010
Publication Date: 8/28/2010
Citation: Sanderson, M.A., Watzold, F. 2010. Balancing Tradeoffs in Ecosystem Functions and Services in Grassland Management. Grassland Science in Europe. 15:639-648.

Interpretive Summary: An interpretive summary is not required.

Technical Abstract: Managed grasslands are increasingly expected to provide ecosystem services beyond the traditional provision of food, feed, and fiber. Grassland systems can provide ecosystem services such as soil conservation, water quality protection, wildlife conservation, pleasing landscapes, soil carbon storage, and greenhouse gas mitigation. These benefits sometimes are accepted uncritically and the potential tradeoffs among ecosystem functions or services are not recognized. For example, greenhouse gas emissions from pasture-based livestock systems can be as large as or larger than losses from confinement systems because of N emissions from dung and urine of grazing animals. Some of the new ecosystem services, such as cellulosic biofuels from forages, may compete with traditional provisioning services. Thus, innovative management is critical to realizing the various ecosystem services from managed grasslands. Designing cost-effective measures (i.e., maximizing an ecological benefit within budget constraints) that balance conservation needs with grassland management and information constraints is also a pressing need. An important question is whether managed grasslands can be sustained to meet society’s needs and expectations for ecosystem services.