Grassland Intensification Effects Cascade to Alter Multifunctionality of Wetlands Within Metaecosystems

Themes: Sustainability

Keywords: Biomass Analytics, Field Data


Guo, Y., Boughton, E.H., Bohlman, S., Bernacchi, C., Bohlen, P.J., Boughton, R., DeLucia, E., Fauth, J.E., Gomez-Casanovas, N., Jenkins, D.G., Lollis, G., Miller, R.S., Quintana-Ascencio, P.F., Sonnier, G., Sparks, J., Swain, H.M., Qiu, J. Nov. 19, 2023. Data from: “Grassland Intensification Effects Cascade to Alter Multifunctionality of Wetlands Within Metaecosystems.” figshare. DOI: 10.6084/m9.figshare.24572368.


Conceptual diagram illustrating how multiple ecosystem services from grassland-wetland metaecosystems were affected by upland land-use intensification.

Securing food production while safeguarding ecosystem stability and resilience remains a grand challenge in the Anthropocene. Sustainable agricultural intensification holds promise in achieving ecosystem service multifunctionality beyond food production, yet empirical evidence remains tenuous, especially regarding consequences for the metaecosystems (i.e., spatially coupled ecosystems connected by flows across ecosystem boundaries). Here we synthesized long-term datasets encompassing 53 physical, chemical, and biological indicators, comprising >11,000 field measurements, to understand effects of land-use intensification on multiple ecosystem services of spatially connected grasslands and wetlands. The management practices applied to grasslands were not directly imposed on wetlands, except for grazing intensity. Our results revealed that intensification promoted high-quality forage and livestock production in both grasslands and wetlands, but at the expense of water quality regulation, methane mitigation, non-native species invasion resistance, and biodiversity, and further weakened relationships among ecosystem services. Such intensification effects on grasslands cascaded to alter multifunctionality of embedded natural wetlands within the metaecosystems to a similar extent. Our results highlight the need to integrate holistic and systematic perspectives into land-use intensification strategies to achieve multifunctional agricultural landscapes.


Figshare: Includes field data and R code

Download (87.1 KB) includes:

  • Grassland/wetland data
  • Biodiversity management
  • Agriculture production

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