Grazing and ecosystem service delivery in global drylands

Science. 2022 Nov 25;378(6622):915-920. doi: 10.1126/science.abq4062. Epub 2022 Nov 24.


Grazing represents the most extensive use of land worldwide. Yet its impacts on ecosystem services remain uncertain because pervasive interactions between grazing pressure, climate, soil properties, and biodiversity may occur but have never been addressed simultaneously. Using a standardized survey at 98 sites across six continents, we show that interactions between grazing pressure, climate, soil, and biodiversity are critical to explain the delivery of fundamental ecosystem services across drylands worldwide. Increasing grazing pressure reduced ecosystem service delivery in warmer and species-poor drylands, whereas positive effects of grazing were observed in colder and species-rich areas. Considering interactions between grazing and local abiotic and biotic factors is key for understanding the fate of dryland ecosystems under climate change and increasing human pressure.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Biodiversity*
  • Climate Change
  • Herbivory*
  • Livestock*
  • Soil


  • Soil

Associated data

  • figshare/10.6084/m9.figshare.14923065
  • figshare/10.6084/m9.figshare.20131355