Incorporating biogeochemistry into dryland restoration

Kristina E. Young, Sasha C. Reed, Scott Ferrenberg, Akasha Faist, Daniel E. Winkler, Catherine Cort, Anthony Darrouzet-Nardi

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Dryland degradation is a persistent and accelerating global problem. Although the mechanisms initiating and maintaining dryland degradation are largely understood, returning productivity and function through ecological restoration remains difficult. Water limitation commonly drives slow recovery rates within drylands; however, the altered biogeochemical cycles that accompany degradation also play key roles in limiting restoration outcomes. Addressing biogeochemical changes and resource limitations may help improve restoration efforts within this difficult-to-restore biome. In the present article, we present a synthesis of restoration literature that identifies multiple ways biogeochemical understandings might augment dryland restoration outcomes, including timing restoration around resource cycling and uptake, connecting heterogeneous landscapes, manipulating resource pools, and using organismal functional traits to a restoration advantage. We conclude by suggesting ways to incorporate biogeochemistry into existing restoration frameworks and discuss research directions that may help improve restoration outcomes in the world's highly altered dryland landscapes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)907-917
Number of pages11
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 1 2021


  • Biogeochemistry
  • Degradation
  • Drylands
  • Nutrient cycling
  • Restoration or remediation


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