Tropical grassy biomes: misunderstood, neglected, and under threat

Catherine Parr, Caroline Lehmann, William Bond, William Hoffmann, Alan Andersen

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    Tropical grassy biomes (TGBs) are globally extensive, provide critical ecosystem services, and influence the earth–atmosphere system. Yet, globally applied biome definitions ignore vegetation characteristics that are critical to their functioning and evolutionary history. Hence, TGB identification is inconsistent and misinterprets the ecological processes governing vegetation structure, with cascading negative consequences for biodiversity. Here, we discuss threats linked to the definition of TGB, the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM)
    and Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation schemes (REDD+), and enhanced atmospheric CO2, which may facilitate future state shifts. TGB degradation is insidious and less visible than in forested biomes. With human reliance on TGBs and their propensity for woody change, ecology and evolutionary history are fundamental to not only the identification of
    TGBs, but also their management for future persistence.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)205-213
    Number of pages9
    JournalTrends in Ecology and Ecolution
    Issue number4
    Publication statusPublished - Apr 2014


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