Global plight of native temperate grasslands: going, going, gone?
Carbutt, C and Henwood, WD and Gilfedder, LA, Global plight of native temperate grasslands: going, going, gone?, Biodiversity and Conservation, 26, (12) pp. 2911-2932. ISSN 0960-3115 (2017) [Refereed Article]
Copyright 2017 Springer Science+Business Media B.V.
The indelible imprint of humanity is credited for the major degradation of natural systems worldwide. Nowhere are the transforming qualities of mankind more apparent than in the native temperate grassland regions of the world. Formerly occupying some 9 million km2, or 8% of the planet’s terrestrial surface, native temperate grasslands have been reduced to vestiges of their former glory. Only 4.6% are conserved globally within protected areas — a testament to being the least protected and the most extensively transformed of the world’s terrestrial biomes. The aim of this paper is to continue promoting the conservation value of native temperate grasslands, and reiterate the need for further protection and sustainable management before further losses and inadequate protection undermine ecological integrity any further. A new strategic direction is presented for the next decade, underpinned by ten key focus areas. The most realistic opportunities to improve protection lie in central, eastern and western Asia where landscape-scale tracts of native temperate grassland remain in reasonable condition. Such a course necessitates a strong reliance on integrating sustainable use and conservation by promoting concepts such as Indigenous and Community Conserved Areas as legitimate and recognized forms of protected areas. Here the conservation value of working rangeland landscapes utilised by nomadic pastoralists comes to the fore. The naive and short-sighted approach to viewing native temperate grasslands merely as a palette for transformation and intensive utilisation should be weighed more objectively against an understanding of the myriad benefits they provide.
cultural landscapes, improved awareness, indigenous and community conserved areas, nomadic pastoralists, rangelands, revised strategic direction, sustainable utilisation