Grazing systems, ecosystem responses, and global change

Gregory P. Asner, Andrew J. Elmore, Lydia P. Olander, Roberta E. Martin, Thomas Harris

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

636 Scopus citations


Managed grazing covers more than 25% of the global land surface and has a larger geographic extent than any other form of land use. Grazing systems persist under marginal bioclimatic and edaphic conditions of different biomes, leading to the emergence of three regional syndromes inherent to global grazing: desertification, woody encroachment, and deforestation. These syndromes have widespread but differential effects on the structure, biogeochemistry, hydrology, and biosphere-atmosphere exchange of grazed ecosystems. In combination, these three syndromes represent a major component of global environmental change.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)261-299
Number of pages39
JournalAnnual Review of Environment and Resources
StatePublished - Dec 27 2004
Externally publishedYes



  • Agriculture
  • Deforestation
  • Desertification
  • Land-use change
  • Woody encroachment

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Science(all)

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