Special issue on Grasses (Science)

Grassy biomes—from the steppes of Mongolia to the savannas of Tanzania— are predicted to be the ecosystems hardest hit by the ongoing climate and land use crises,” begins a Perspective by Strömberg and Staver in the August 4, 2022 Science special issue on Grasses that raises awareness of the unrecognized value of grasses and grasslands. Grasses, particularly rice, wheat, and corn, provide 50% of calories in the human diet (more when you add in sugar cane and barley for beer) and grasslands provide habitat for a great diversity of animals. The fascinating collection has review articles about the developmental and genetic diversity of grasses, emphasizing traits that have been selected to increase yield including nonshattering traits and inflorescence architecture; evolutionary history of grassy biomes; contributions of grasslands to soil carbon sequestration; challenges to “old growth” grassland restoration; and a plea to recognize the ecological roles of seagrass in global conservation efforts. Beautifully illustrated, this is an excellent resource to share with friends and students. (Summary by Mary Williams @PlantTeaching) Science https://www.science.org/toc/science/377/6606.