The trophic effects of shrubs in arid and semi-arid systems to inform restoration and management

Principal Investigator(s): 

Christopher J. Lortie


Plants are especially important in arid ecosystems because they facilitate the persistence of other plants and animals in drylands. Although they are crucial to biodiversity and productivity in many grassland ecosystems, the studied effects of plant interactions in these systems are generally restricted to plant-plant interactions and fail to include pollinators, arthropods, or other animals.


This working group is synthesizing the literature on the interactions between shrubs and other organisms in arid and semi-arid grasslands to fill in research gaps and inform restoration initiatives. Sample questions that the group is evaluating include the effect of plant interactions on seedbanks, the management of shrubs in arid systems, degraded grasslands, or agricultural systems with low rainfall in general is vital to maintaining ecosystem function.