Chin J Plant Ecol ›› 2020, Vol. 44 ›› Issue (5): 553-564.DOI: 10.17521/cjpe.2019.0314

Special Issue: 全球变化与生态系统

• Reviews • Previous Articles     Next Articles

Research progress on the effects of grazing on grassland ecosystem

ZHANG Yang-Jian1,2,3,*(), ZHU Jun-Tao1, SHEN Ruo-Nan1,4, WANG Li5   

  1. 1Lhasa Plateau Ecosystem Research Station, Key Laboratory of Ecosystem Network Observation and Modeling, Institute of Geographic Sciences and Natural Resources Research, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100101, China
    2CAS Center for Excellence in Tibetan Plateau Earth Sciences, Beijing 100101, China
    3College of Resources and Environment, University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100190, China
    4University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100190, China; and 5Peking University Shenzhen Graduate School, Shenzhen 518055, China
  • Received:2019-11-18 Accepted:2020-04-19 Online:2020-05-20 Published:2020-04-30
  • Contact: ZHANG Yang-Jian
  • Supported by:
    National Natural Science Foundation of China(41725003)


As an important component of terrestrial ecosystems, natural grasslands cover 30% of the global land. Thus, grasslands play a significant role in global carbon cycle, climate change, water retention, soil and water conservation, livestock production and so on. Grazing, as one common use of grasslands, brings fundamental impacts on plant individuals, populations, communities, biodiversity, soil quality and microbes, and then affects structural and functional processes of grassland ecosystems through different kinds of grazing livestock, grazing intensity, period, and system. We explored the effects of grazing on grassland ecosystem by using the methods of bibliometric analysis and literature review. To summarize the effects of grazing on grassland structure and functional processes, our study 1) reviewed the research stages on the impacts of grazing on grassland ecosystems since the 1950s; 2) extracted the hot topics, important research areas and keywords of previous research; 3) revealed the cutting-edge and limitations of domestic research on the effects of grazing on plants growth, community characteristics, carbon, nitrogen and nutrient cycling, productivity and soil quality; 4) proposed the future research directions and priority areas from the aspects of precise grazing management, validation of related hypothesis, and global change research. This study can provide scientific basis for grassland grazing ecology research, adaptive management and sustainable development in China.

Key words: grazing, grassland ecosystem, ecosystem structure, ecosystem function, carbon cycle, nitrogen cycle, global change