About this Research Topic
Land degradation is the loss of functions and services provided by ecosystems. These include climate regulation, the provision and retention of water, conservation of biodiversity, the cycling of essential nutrients, and food security. By 2014, ∼ 75% of the Earth’s surface had been degraded. Without urgent action, it is estimated that by 2050 less than 10% of the Earth’s surface will remain wild. Land degradation costs ∼10% of the Global Gross Domestic product in 2015 and together with deforestation contributes up to 17% of the global carbon dioxide emissions to the atmosphere. Some of the consequences of land degradation include reduction of up to 50% in crop yield production, the increment of ecosystem-fire severity and frequency, reduction of soil health, and an increment of invasive species. A decrease in land productivity can directly impact human well-being and prosperity by reducing food security and exacerbating conflict and migration. Restoration aims to recover the lost functions or services of degraded land. Because of the urgency to reduce and reverse land degradation, 2021 – 2030 has been declared the United Nations-Decade on Ecosystem Restoration.
In this Research Topic, we aim to address how ecological restoration can contribute to the recovery of ecosystem services and functions and to enhance biodiversity outcomes as well as to improve human well-being in degraded landscapes through research examples. Land degradation is the loss of ecosystem services, functions, and health, and is driven by a range of human activities including population growth, over-extraction of natural resources, and unsustainable agricultural practices. The goals of ecosystem restoration include mitigation of climate change, biodiversity conservation, and enhancing human prosperity. Ecosystem restoration is crucial to meet international agreements including the Convention on Biological Diversity and the Paris Agreement on Climate Change. Examples of advances in ecosystem restoration have shown recovery of biomass and soil health in drylands of Inner Mongolia, conservation of biodiversity in the Brazilian Atlantic Forest, and reducing the risk of severe fires in the Kimberley Region, Australia. Achieving restoration is possible through a range of projects in which monitoring is essential to assess the degree of restoration success.
Special attention will be given to manuscripts addressing the strategies, techniques, and indicators for restoring terrestrial forests, rangelands, and arid/semi-arid ecosystems worldwide, emphasizing among others, application of techniques based on biological and microbiological processes. Future challenges in the context of global climate change should be highlighted.
This Research Topic welcomes manuscripts of original research, reviews, and policy and practice reviews on the following topics:
• Indicators of success in restored lands
• Restoration of ecosystem services and functions
• Examples of policy and decision support
• Restored forests, rangelands & drylands
• Role of soil microorganisms in restored lands
• Soil-plant interactions
• Ecological aspects of restoration
• Social aspects related to ecological restoration
Keywords: ecosystem health, ecosystem functions, ecological indicators, land rehabilitation, natural lands
Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.