Comparative Assessment of Goods and Services Provided by Grazing Regulation and Reforestation in Degraded Mediterranean Rangelands

Vasilios P. Papanastasis*, Susana Bautista, Dimitrios Chouvardas, Konstantinos Mantzanas, Maria Papadimitriou, Angeles Garcia Mayor, Polina Koukioumi, Athanasios Papaioannou, Ramon V. Vallejo

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

52 Citations (Scopus)


Several management actions are applied to restore ecosystem services in degraded Mediterranean rangelands, which range from adjusting the grazing pressure to the removal of grazers and pine plantations. Four such actions were assessed in Quercus coccifera L. shrublands in northern Greece: (i) moderate grazing by goats and sheep; (ii) no grazing; (iii) no grazing plus pine (Pinus pinaster Aiton) plantation in forest gaps (gap reforestation); and (iv) no grazing plus full reforestation of shrubland areas, also with P. pinaster. In addition, heavy grazing was also assessed to serve as a control action. We comparatively assessed the impact of these actions on key provisioning, regulating and supporting ecosystem services by using ground-based indicators. Depending on the ecosystem service considered, the management actions were ranked differently. However, the overall provision of services was particularly favoured under moderate and no grazing management options, with moderate grazing outranking any other action in provisioning services and the no grazing action presenting the most balanced provision of services. Pine reforestations largely contributed to water and soil conservation and C sequestration but had a negative impact on plant diversity when implemented at the expense of removing natural vegetation in the area. Heavy grazing had the lowest provision of ecosystem services. It is concluded that degraded rangelands can be restored by moderating the grazing pressure rather than completely banning livestock grazing or converting them into pine plantations.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1178-1187
JournalLand Degradation and Development
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2017


  • carbon sequestration
  • ecosystem services
  • forage
  • grazing management
  • landscape functional analysis
  • plant diversity
  • restoration actions
  • soil functions

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