• biodiversity;
  • ecosystem functioning;
  • grazing management;
  • introduced species;
  • restoration

Summary  The purpose of this comment paper is to highlight the need for more research that aims to develop strategies and methods for establishing and maintaining native grasses in degraded pastures. Clues to finding the best strategies are linked to the vigorous debate concerning the relationship between biodiversity and ecosystem function, which has resonated in ecological research for more than 20 years. Studies aimed at investigating the operational validity of the ‘sampling effect’ hypothesis vs. the ‘niche complementarity’ hypothesis could provide valuable direction on how to successfully re-establish healthy and stable native pasture communities, including the number of species and functional groups needed. Once strategies have been developed, then practical methods on grazing management and sowing are also needed. In the long run, research initiatives in this direction could act to benefit the conservation of native grass diversity, while at the same time, sustain important ecological (and economic) functions such as production, nutrient cycling and resistance to invasion.