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ARS Home » Plains Area » Las Cruces, New Mexico » Range Management Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #383371

Research Project: Science and Technologies for the Sustainable Management of Western Rangeland Systems

Location: Range Management Research

Title: Toward a sustainable grassland ecosystem worldwide

item SUN, JIAN - Chinese Academy Of Sciences
item WANG, YI - Chinese Academy Of Sciences
item LIU, MIAO - Chinese Academy Of Sciences
item HAN, GUODONG - Inner Mongolian Agriculture University
item PIAO, SHILONG - Peking University
item LI, JUNRAN - University Of Tulsa
item LIU, GUOHUA - Chinese Academy Of Sciences
item WILKES, ANDREAS - Non ARS Employee
item LIU, SHILIANG - Beijing Normal University
item ZHAO, WENWU - Beijing Normal University
item ZHOU, HUAKUN - Chinese Academy Of Sciences
item YIBELTAL, MESENBET - Bahir Dar University
item BERIHUN LIYEW, MULATU - Tottori University
item Browning, Dawn
item FENTA ALMAW, AYELE - Tottori University
item TSUNEKAWA, ATSUSHI - Tottori University
item BROWN, JOEL - New Mexico State University
item WILLMS, WALTER - Agriculture And Agri-Food Canada
item TSUBO, MITSURU - Tottori University

Submitted to: Nature Ecology and Evolution
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 5/25/2022
Publication Date: 7/12/2022
Citation: Sun, J., Wang, Y., Liu, M., Han, G., Piao, S., Li, J., Liu, G., Wilkes, A., Liu, S., Zhao, W., Zhou, H., Yibeltal, M., Berihun Liyew, M., Browning, D.M., Fenta Almaw, A., Tsunekawa, A., Brown, J., Willms, W., Tsubo, M. 2022. Toward a sustainable grassland ecosystem worldwide. Nature Ecology and Evolution. 3(4):Article e100265.

Interpretive Summary: Despite the pattern of decreased productivity and health of many of the world's perennial grassland ecosystems, there is not a standard for defining and classifying degraded grassland ecosystems globally. Grassland degradation contributes to the loss of valuable economic assets and livelihood opportunities for grassland-dependent peoples and directly affects ecological security. Here, we offer a review of the varied definitions and classifications for grassland degradation and their mechanisms along with ways to prevent further degradation. The framework benefits producers, land managers, and governments worldwide as it offers new understanding of degradation for adaptive grassland management that will hopefully lead to more suitable policies to achieve grassland sustainable development.

Technical Abstract: Grassland degradation is an important area of research, but the definition of the term ‘degraded’ remains unclear. The healthy development of grassland ecosystems is vital to the maintenance of ecological services, food security, and sustainable development. Yet, in many regions, grasslands have deteriorated due to climate change and human pressure. Globally, there is no standard for defining and classifying degraded grassland systems, and most studies lack a comprehensive framework for measuring grassland degradation. This situation prevents us from implementing “The United Nations (UN) Decade on Ecosystem Restoration”. Consequently, we conducted a review of grassland degradation research for sake of identify the common definitions, classifications, theories, drivers, and processes related to grassland degradation. This review advances our understanding of recent trends in global grassland degradation research. Then in order to provide a more consistent measure of grassland degradation, we propose a new method for assessing grassland degradation that integrates ecosystem multifunctionality theory. We suggest that grassland degradation can be defined as the loss of grassland ecosystem multifunctionality.