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ARS Home » Midwest Area » Urbana, Illinois » Global Change and Photosynthesis Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #377699

Research Project: Optimizing Photosynthesis for Global Change and Improved Yield

Location: Global Change and Photosynthesis Research

Title: A review of transformative strategies for climate mitigation by grasslands

item GOMEZ-CASANOVAS, NURIA - University Of Illinois
item BLANC-BETES, ELENA - University Of Illinois
item MOORE, CAITLIN - University Of Western Australia
item Bernacchi, Carl
item KANTOLA, ILSA - University Of Illinois
item DELUCIA, EVAN - University Of Illinois

Submitted to: Science of the Total Environment
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 7/31/2021
Publication Date: 12/10/2021
Citation: Gomez-Casanovas, N., Blanc-Betes, E., Moore, C.E., Bernacchi, C.J., Kantola, I., DeLucia, E. 2021. A review of transformative strategies for climate mitigation by grasslands. Science of the Total Environment. 799. Article 149466.

Interpretive Summary: The role of ecosystems are important for food, fuel, and other harvested components. However, ecosystems can also provide services that benefit the environment including storing carbon, using less water, maintaining biodiversity, and improving soil health. Grasslands are included in this because they contribute to food and energy while also can reduce the amount of greenhouse gases, the gases that are causing global warming. This manuscript reviews five areas where management of grasslands can be improved to benefit the environment while simultaneously meeting the needs for food and energy.

Technical Abstract: Improved management practices of terrestrial ecosystems can provide the 37% mitigation of Greenhouse Gas (GHG) necessary to hold warming below 2°C while increasing other ecosystem services including productivity, biodiversity, water regulation, and soil health. Globally, grasslands make a substantial contribution to food and energy security, and they play an important role in GHG mitigation. Here, we examine the potential of five innovative strategies to improve grassland production and to mitigate climate change including adaptive multipaddock grazing, patch burn grazing, agrivoltaics, agroforestry with inverse phenology species, and enhanced weathering. Further, we speculate about potential unknown consequences of these different management strategies and identify gaps in knowledge. We conclude that adopting these novel strategies to manage grasslands, and the corresponding environmental benefits, would support the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals of Achieving Food and Energy Security and Climate Action. However, there are obstacles to be overcome. Rigorous and mechanistic assessment of the ecological, environmental, and socio-economic consequences of adopting these innovative strategies at large scale are urgently needed. This improved knowledge should be based on a holistic framework evaluating their potential for securing food, energy and the environment through the transformative management of grasslands.