Challenges and opportunities for grassland restoration: A global perspective of best practices in the era of climate change

Research output: Journal contributionsJournal articlesResearchpeer-review


  • Kelly G. Lyons
  • Péter Török
  • Julia-Maria Hermann
  • Kathrin Kiehl
  • Anita Kirmer
  • Johannes Kollmann
  • Gerhard E. Overbeck
  • Sabine Tischew
  • Edith B. Allen
  • Jonathan D. Bakker
  • Christy Brigham
  • Elise Buisson
  • Kerri Crawford
  • Peter Dunwiddie
  • Jennifer Firn
  • Devin Grobert
  • Karen Hickman
  • Soizig LE Stradic
  • Vicky M. Temperton
Grasslands are ubiquitous globally, and their conservation and restoration are critical to combat both the biodiversity and climate crises. There is increasing interest in implementing effective multifunctional grassland restoration to restore biodiversity concomitant with above- and belowground carbon sequestration, delivery of carbon credits and/or integration with land dedicated to solar panels. Other common multifunctional restoration considerations include improved forage value, erosion control, water management, pollinator services, and wildlife habitat provisioning. In addition, many grasslands are global biodiversity hotspots. Nonetheless, relative to their impact, and as compared to forests, the importance of preservation, conservation, and restoration of grasslands has been widely overlooked due to their subtle physiognomy and underappreciated contributions to human and planetary well-being. Ultimately, the global success of carbon sequestration will depend on more complete and effective grassland ecosystem restoration. In this review, supported by examples from across the Western world, we call for more strenuous and unified development of best practices for grassland restoration in three areas of concern: initial site conditions and site preparation; implementation of restoration measures and management; and social context and sustainability. For each area, we identify the primary challenges to grassland restoration and highlight case studies with proven results to derive successful and generalizable solutions.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere02612
JournalGlobal Ecology and Conservation
Number of pages16
Publication statusPublished - 01.10.2023

Bibliographical note

Funding Information: We are grateful to Trinity University students Ernest “Michael” Leonard and Sean Cassingham for their work formatting and submitting an earlier draft of the manuscript and to Mariana de Melo Siqueira for designing Fig. 1. We also appreciated the feedback for improvements provided by Brandon Bestelmeyer, Matt McCaw, and Lars Brudvig to an earlier draft of the manuscript. PT was supported by the Hungarian Academy of Sciences, Momentum Program, by the Hungarian Research Found (NKFIH K 137573 and KKP 144068) during manuscript preparation. KGL supported by USDA NRCS NCAT Soil for Water Grant (NR203A750001C025) during manuscript preparation. GEO is funded by the Brazilian Conselho Nacional de Desenvolvimento Científico e Tecnológico (CNPq grant 310345/2018-9). KMC was supported by the National Science Foundation (#1754287).

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