1. Restoration of degraded landscapes has become increasingly important for the conservation of species and their habitats owing to habitat destruction and rapid environmental change. An increasing focus on restoration activities of old-fields as agricultural land abandonment has expanded in the developed world. Studies examining outcomes of ecological restoration predominantly focus on vegetation structure and plant diversity, and sometimes vertebrate fauna. Fewer studies have systematically investigated the effects of restoration efforts on soil chemical and biophysical condition or ground-dwelling invertebrates and there is a limited synthesis of these data.
2. This dataset comprised data for a global meta-analysis of published studies to assess the effects on soil properties and invertebrates of restoring land that was previously used for agriculture. Studies were included if the site had been either cropped or grazed, restoration was either active (planting) or passive (abandonment, fencing) and if adequate data on soil chemical or physical properties or invertebrate assemblages were reported for restored, control (cropped/grazed) or reference sites.
3. The dataset includes 42 studies, published between 1994 and 2019 that met the inclusion criteria, covering 16 countries across all continents. More studies assessed passive restoration approaches than active planting, and native species were more commonly planted than exotic species.
Relevant literature published between 1970 and 2019 was identified on 31/01/2019 using Systematic Review criteria - see Methods.
Systematic Review Method - Relevant literature published between 1970 and 2019 was searched using keyword and topic search in the SCOPUS database using the following term combinations “KEY (restoration OR old-fields OR plantation) AND (TITLE (soils OR reforest* OR planting OR reveg* OR regen* OR sow* OR seed* OR oldfield OR "old fields" OR old-field OR pasture OR cropland OR abandon* OR paddock OR marginal OR unviable OR unproduct* OR woodland OR forest OR farmland))” on 31/01/2019. Studies from non-English literature and subject areas other than environmental science, and agricultural and biological sciences were excluded. This search resulted in 10,292 papers. Titles and abstracts of these papers were assessed to identify studies that met the inclusion criteria. If the title and abstract did not provide sufficient details, papers were read in full (n=271).
To assess the effects on soil properties and invertebrates of restoring land that was previously used for agriculture, based on review of published studies.