Dryland Grazing Study Highlights Ecosystem Services Effects of Management and Temperature

An international team of scientists published a study in Science with the first global estimates of how grazing will affect ecosystem services across drylands that make up 40% of Earth’s land surface. The research was led by the Dryland Ecology and Global Change group in Spain with collaborators from University of New South Wales, Sydney, and numerous other institutions. A unique global survey of 326 drylands from 25 countries showed that grazing by livestock and wild herbivores in drylands can have positive effects on ecosystem services, but these effects can turn negative as Earth’s temperature becomes warmer. The study also revealed that drylands with greater plant and herbivore diversity were better able to withstand negative effects of climate change, and scientists say the results highlight the importance of local monitoring and management strategies to avoid rangeland degradation.