A special issue of Land (ISSN 2073-445X).
Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (21 March 2022) | Viewed by 18416
Interests: ecosystem and community ecology; C and N dynamics during ecological restoration; controls on soil aggregation and C sequestration; plant community responses to heterogeneity; microbial community responses to plant effects; nitrous oxide emissions; biodiversity-ecosystem functioning; cover crop influence on soil biogeochemistry; crop rotation diversity
In many parts of the world, grasslands have been degraded through conversion to row crop agriculture, invasion by exotic species, mining, and urbanization. Grassland restoration seeks to reinstate biological structure and function. The importance of long-term monitoring following restoration has become clear, and observational studies have demonstrated patterns in biological diversity and biogeochemical cycling. However, experiments and modeling are necessary in order to test general ecological theory and make general predictions of restoration outcomes.
Many knowledge gaps remain in grassland restoration. For example, it is not well understood to what extent restoration outcome is dependent on stochastic events (e.g., drought and deluge events) compared with management practices (e.g., burning, mowing, and composition of seed mix). The extent to which plant–microbe interactions influence restoration outcomes is also unclear, requiring further study of plant mutualist, plant pathogens, pairwise plant–soil feedbacks, and the differences between rhizosphere and bulk soil microorganism communities. It is also unknown to what extent microbial inoculations alter restoration trajectory, with the need for justification of propagule selection. Experimentation in the framework of successional theory and species distribution modeling might improve likelihood of reaching desired plant communities. The propagule selection of plants may be improved by quantifying biodiversity–ecosystem functioning relationships. Understanding these relationships would ensure that appropriate species and functional groups are represented in restoration in order to achieve the desired functioning. The role that grassland restoration can play in mitigating climate change also remains ambiguous. While grassland restorations generally accrue organic carbon over time, the main drivers are not usually known. Furthermore, estimates of the greenhouse gas emissions during grassland restoration are poorly constrained because of their large variability in time and space. Grassland restoration studies have largely been focused on primary producers. The role that consumers play in shaping biological communities and ecosystem function requires further study.
In this Special Issue of Land, titled “Grassland Restoration”, we are calling for papers that advance ecological restoration theory by use of experimentation and modeling. Manuscripts on the manipulation of precipitation, burning, plant–microbe interactions, biodiversity–ecosystem functioning relationships, climate change mitigation, and food webs, or on other topics that advance knowledge of grassland restoration are welcome.
Dr. Drew A. Scott
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