GrassSyn - Biodiversity of Brazilian grasslands and savannas: patterns and drivers, ecosystem services, and strategies for conservation and restoration

Projekt: Forschung


  • Overbeck, Gerhard E. (Wissenschaftliche Projektleitung)
  • Temperton, Vicky (Partner*in)
  • Anand, Madhur (Partner*in)
  • Santiago, Baeza (Partner*in)
  • Carlucci, Marcos (Partner*in)
  • Dechoum, Michele (Partner*in)
  • Durigan, Giselda (Partner*in)
  • Fidelis, Alessandra (Partner*in)
  • Guido, Anaclara (Partner*in)
  • Menezes, Luciana (Partner*in)
  • Müller, Sandra (Partner*in)
  • Rosenfield, Milena Fermina (Partner*in)
  • Sampaio, Alexandre (Partner*in)
  • Sosinski, Enio (Partner*in)
  • Staude, Ingmar (Partner*in)
  • Tornquist, Carlos Gustavo (Partner*in)
  • Turchetto, Caroline (Partner*in)
  • Veldman, Joseph W. (Partner*in)
  • Vélez-Martin, Eduardo (Partner*in)
  • Wiesmeier, Martin (Partner*in)
  • Texas A&M Universität Bizzel


In order to effectively conserve biodiversity and sustain ecosystem services of natural ecosystems, approaches are needed that integrate ecological theory, the best available data and expert knowledge on biodiversity, its drivers and stressors, as well as on conservation state, degradation processes and their context. Here,we propose a synthesis of available information on the biodiversity and ecosystems services of Brazil’s savannas and grasslands (in the following: grasslands). Specifically, we propose to (i) synthesize knowledge on the spatial distribution and drivers of plant community composition, diversity and ecosystem services, including carbon storage; (ii) assess the current conservation status and developing conservation strategies, tailored to Brazil’s grassland systems; (iii) develop a framework for restoration planning that takes into account differences in ecological conditions among grassland systems in Brazil, their vulnerabilities and their potential for economic use. We include grasslands and savannas across Brazil, i.e. in the Cerrado, Pampa, and Pantanal, where grasslands and savanna (including hyperseasonal) dominate, but also consider 2 grassland/savanna enclaves in the Amazon and Atlantic forests. Our model group for biodiversity analyses will be plant communities, as there is good data availability for most regions of Brazil. Plant communities are also good indicators of a number of ecosystem characteristics and other taxonomic groups (e.g., grassland-depended animals). The synthesis will thus allow us, for a first time, to understand biodiversity patterns and their drivers in Brazil’s grassland ecosystems, to evaluate the current conservation state, including of ecosystem services, and to develop adequate conservation and restoration strategies. This last point is of high political relevance, as currently European countries, often in collaboration with international organizations, wish to make financial contributions to landscape-scale restoration in tropical regions, but do not target grassland regions at the moment, as restoration needs are not visible for a wider public, and as strategies have not yet been developed. The results from this synthesis will be published in scientific papers in high impact journals and in policy-relevant forms (‘white papers’, policy briefs, etc., in English and Portuguese), always together with media work (press releases, videos, webcontent) that addresses a wider public. Other outcomes will be a plant community composition database on Brazilian platform, for open use for researchers, and a ‘Grassland Restoration Opportunity Map’. The proposed synthesis will be delivered by a multidisciplinary group of senior and junior researchers from different regions in Brazil and with a strong component of international collaboration.