Grasslands account for about 40% of the terrestrial surface and 69% of the worlds agricultural land area, which means hundreds of millions of people depend on them. However, about 49% of grasslands show some degradation, and this is accelerating.
Drawing on examples from the UK, Kenya and Inner Mongolia, Ellen Fry will explore the drivers of degradation and the opportunities modern ecology offers in restoring grassland ecosystems.
Dr Ellen Fry is a Post-Doctoral Researcher whose work is primarily concerned with restoring degraded landscapes. Her work has taken her from peatlands in the North Pennines, all the way to degraded grasslands in Kenya and Inner Mongolia. Ellen’s work is at the interface between plants and soil, disentangling the complex relationship between plant morphological, chemical and physiological traits, and ecosystem functioning.
While her main background is in soil nutrient cycling, increasingly the soil food web is intruding on her work. Ellen’s main role now is trying to make sense of the bewildering array of microbes and soil fauna, and the roles they play in natural systems.