Combatting global grassland degradation

Richard Bardgett, ELLEN FRY

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (journal)peer-review

369 Citations (Scopus)
140 Downloads (Pure)


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
JournalNature Reviews Earth and Environment
Early online date7 Sept 2021
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 7 Sept 2021


  • ecosystem services
  • sustainability


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