A review of current research on their total economic value
Indigenous temperate grasslands are the most altered ecosystem on earth, with less than half remaining in an intact, natural condition. Intensive agriculture has replaced 41 percent of the world’s temperate grasslands and another 13.5 percent have been converted to urban, industrial and other uses. Much of the remainder, although still under grassland vegetation, is degraded and vulnerable to desertification. The fundamental purpose of the Temperate Grasslands Conservation Initiative (TGCI) is to reverse this trend and increase the level of conservation and protection of temperate grasslands through establishing additional formally protected areas and encouraging ecologically sustainable land use practices throughout the biome. As an effort to make a stronger case for conservation and protection, the TGCI identified the need to better understand the total economic value (TEV) of temperate grasslands to human social and cultural well-being. This review summarizes the current literature regarding the TEV of goods and services provided by indigenous temperate grasslands, highlights research gaps and identifies future priorities.