CSIRO Publishing blank image blank image blank image blank imageBooksblank image blank image blank image blank imageJournalsblank image blank image blank image blank imageAbout Usblank image blank image blank image blank imageShopping Cartblank image blank image blank image You are here: Journals > The Rangeland Journal   
The Rangeland Journal
http://www.austrangesoc.com.au/
  Rangeland Ecology & Management
 
blank image Search
 
blank image blank image
blank image
 
  Advanced Search
   

Journal Home
About the Journal
Editorial Structure
Contacts
Content
Online Early
Current Issue
Just Accepted
All Issues
Special Issues
Research Fronts
Sample Issue
Call for Papers
For Authors
General Information
Scope
Submit Article
Author Instructions
Open Access
For Referees
Referee Guidelines
Review an Article
Annual Referee Index
For Advertisers
For Subscribers
Subscription Prices
Customer Service
Print Publication Dates

blue arrow e-Alerts
blank image
Subscribe to our Email Alert or RSS feeds for the latest journal papers.

red arrow Connect with CP
blank image
facebook twitter LinkedIn

 

Article << Previous     |     Next >>   Contents Vol 35(4)

Pastoralists’ knowledge of plant palatability and grazing indicators in an arid region of South Australia

Helen P. Waudby A C D, Sophie Petit A and Guy Robinson B

A Sustainable Environments Research Group, School of Natural and Built Environments, University of South Australia, Mawson Lakes, SA 5095, Australia.
B Centre for Regional Engagement, University of South Australia, Whyalla, SA 5608, Australia.
C Current address: Institute for Land, Water and Society, Charles Sturt University, Albury, NSW 2640, Australia.
D Corresponding author. Email: hpwaudby@gmail.com

The Rangeland Journal 35(4) 445-454 http://dx.doi.org/10.1071/RJ13021
Submitted: 16 March 2013  Accepted: 30 July 2013   Published: 24 September 2013


 
PDF (188 KB) $25
 Export Citation
 Print
  
Abstract

Indicator species have been used for several decades as measures of ecosystem health. In arid Australian rangelands, which are dominated by commercial grazing enterprises reliant on native pastures, the development of efficacious indicators is particularly important to monitor production and biodiversity values. The high temporal and spatial climatic variability of arid rangelands means that developing broad indicators is difficult and resource intensive. However, pastoralists, who observe their pastures and the species favoured by stock under a range of conditions, can provide information on local indicators. This paper examines pastoralists’ knowledge in terms of its value for natural resource management in rangelands, including their use of local indicators and understanding of palatability of selected plant species. A survey was mailed to all 51 occupants of pastoral properties in the Stony Plains region of South Australia. Pastoralists were asked what species they considered indicators of overgrazing, whether they would destock if they noted changes in these indicators, what they knew of the palatability of certain plant species, and the usefulness of cracking-clay areas (a key landscape feature in the region) for grazing. Views of respondents on indicator species and plant palatability mostly concurred with published reports on the preferences of livestock for these species. A wide range of indicators (all perennial plant species and no animal species) was listed by respondents, suggesting that indicators are highly location-specific, plant-focussed, and not viewed consistently among pastoralists. Respondents related specific information about cracking-clay areas on their leases, including the influence of the timing and amount of rainfall on pasture productivity, and the value of these areas for livestock. It can be difficult for natural resource management practitioners, who may not observe the landscape regularly, to evaluate land condition and prescribe appropriate land management strategies. It is argued that the participation of pastoralists in science and policy development is fundamental to achieving sustainable land management, providing opportunities for social learning within an adaptive management framework.

Additional keywords: cracking-clay soil, drylands, grazing preferences, natural resource management, outback, palatability, participatory processes, station.


References

Allan, C., and Whalley, R. D. B. (2004). Some factors influencing landholder opinion of the native grass Microlaena stipoides. The Rangeland Journal 26, 178–189.
CrossRef |

Allan, C., and Wilson, B. (2009). Meeting in the middle – desirable but not easy. Environmental Policy and Governance 19, 388–399.
CrossRef |

Allen, V. G., Batello, C., Berretta, E. J., Hodgson, J., Kothmann, M., Li, X., McIvor, J., Milne, J., Morris, C., Peeters, A., and Sanderson, M. (2011). An international terminology for grazing lands and grazing animals. Grass and Forage Science 66, 2–28.
CrossRef |

Aswani, S., and Hamilton, R. J. (2004). Integrating indigenous ecological knowledge and customary sea tenure within marine and social science for conservation of bumphead parrotfish (Bolbometopon muricatum) in the Roviana Lagoon, Solomon Islands. Environmental Conservation 31, 69–83.
CrossRef |

Ben Salem, H., Norman, H. C., Nefzaoui, A., Mayberry, D. E., Pearce, K. L., and Revell, D. K. (2010). Potential use of oldman saltbush (Atriplex nummularia Lindl.) in sheep and goat feeding. Small Ruminant Research 91, 13–28.
CrossRef |

Berkes, F., Colding, J., and Folke, C. (2000). Rediscovery of Traditional Ecological Knowledge as adaptive management. Ecological Applications 10, 1251–1262.
CrossRef |

Bohning, G., and Wilkie, A. (1999). ‘Technote – Palatability Scoring of Forage Plants in Central Australia.’ (Northern Territory Government: Darwin, NT.)

Brandle, R., Moseby, K. E., and Adams, M. (1999). The distribution, habitat requirements and conservation status of the plains rat, Pseudomys australis (Rodentia: Muridae). Wildlife Research 26, 463–477.
CrossRef |

Breckenridge, R. P., Kepner, W. G., and Mouat, D. A. (1995). A process for selecting indicators for monitoring conditions of rangeland health. Environmental Monitoring and Assessment 36, 45–60.
CrossRef |

Brockwell, J., Evans, C. M., Bowman, A. M., and McInnes, A. (2010). Distribution, frequency of occurrence and symbiotic properties of the Australian native legume Trigonella suavissima Lindl. and its associated root-nodule bacteria. The Rangeland Journal 32, 395–406.
CrossRef |

Cobon, D. H., Bell, K. L., Park, J. N., and Keogh, D. U. (2008). Summative evaluation of climate application activities with pastoralists in western Queensland. The Rangeland Journal 30, 361–374.
CrossRef |

Cribb, A. B., and Cribb, J. W. (1981). ‘Useful Wild Plants in Australia’. (William Collins Pty Ltd: Sydney, NSW.)

Crisp, M. D. (1978). Demography and survival under grazing of three Australian semi-desert shrubs. Oikos 30, 520–528.
CrossRef |

Cunningham, G., Mulham, B., Milthorpe, P., and Leigh, J. (1993). ‘Plants of Western New South Wales’. (Inkata Press: Melbourne, Vic..)

Dabasso, B. H., Oba, G., and Roba, H. G. (2012). Livestock-based knowledge of rangeland quality assessment and monitoring at landscape level among borana herders of northern Kenya. Pastoralism: Research Policy & Practice 2, .
CrossRef |

DEH and SAAL NRM Board (2009). ‘South Australian Arid Lands Biodiversity Strategy – Stony Plains Conservation Priorities.’ (South Australian Government: Adelaide, S. Aust.)

Dyksterhuis, E. J. (1949). Condition and management of rangelands based on quantitative ecology. Journal of Range Management 2, 104–115.
CrossRef |

Eldridge, D. J., Westoby, M., and Stanley, R. J. (1990). Population dynamics of the perennial rangeland shrubs Atriplex vesicaria, Maireana astrotricha and M. pyramidata under grazing, 1980–87. Journal of Applied Ecology 27, 502–512.
CrossRef |

Fensham, R. J. (1998). The grassy vegetation of the Darling Downs, south-astern Queensland, Australia. Floristics and grazing effects. Biological Conservation 84, 301–310.
CrossRef |

Friedel, M. H., Sparrow, A. D., Kinloch, J. E., and Tongway, D. J. (2003). Degradation and recovery processes in arid grazing lands of central Australia. Part 2: vegetation. Journal of Arid Environments 55, 327–348.
CrossRef |

Fuhlendorf, S. D., and Engle, D. M. (2001). Restoring heterogeneity on rangelands: ecosystem management based on evolutionary grazing patterns. Bioscience 51, 625–632.
CrossRef |

Goffredo, S., Pensa, F., Neri, P., Orlandi, A., Scola Gagliardi, M., Velardi, A., Piccinetti, C., and Zaccanti, F. (2010). Unite research with what citizens do for fun: ‘recreational monitoring’ of marine biodiversity. Ecological Applications 20, 2170–2187.
CrossRef | PubMed |

Hall, T. J., and Lee, G. R. (1980). Response of an Astrebla spp. grassland to heavy grazing by cattle and light grazing by sheep in north-west Queensland. The Australian Rangeland Journal 2, 83–93.
CrossRef |

Hendricks, H. H., and van der Heyden, F. (1998). Evaluation of the reliability of local farmer knowledge in Namaqualand, South Africa. African Journal of Range & Forage Science 15, 64–67.
CrossRef |

Hunt, L. P. (2001). Low seed availability may limit recruitment in grazed Atriplex vesicaria and contribute to its local extinction. Plant Ecology 157, 53–67.
CrossRef |

Hunt, L. P. (2010). Spatial variation in the demography and population dynamics of a perennial shrub (Atriplex vesicaria) under sheep grazing in semi-arid rangelands. Austral Ecology 35, 794–805.
CrossRef |

Hunt, L. P., Petty, S., Cowley, R., Fisher, A., Ash, A. J., and MacDonald, N. (2007). Factors affecting the management of cattle grazing distribution in northern Australia: preliminary observations on the effect of paddock size and water points. The Rangeland Journal 29, 169–179.
CrossRef |

James, C. D., Landsberg, J., and Morton, S. R. (1999). Provision of watering points in the Australian arid zone: a review of effects on biota. Journal of Arid Environments 41, 87–121.
CrossRef |

Knapp, C. N., and Fernandez-Gimenez, M. E. (2009). Knowledge in practice: documenting rancher local knowledge in north-west Colorado. Rangeland Ecology and Management 62, 500–509.
CrossRef |

Kutsche, F., and Lay, B. (2004). ‘Field Guide to the Plants of Outback South Australia’. (Department of Water, Land and Biodiversity Conservation: Adelaide, S. Aust.)

LaFlamme, M. (2011). A framework for sustainable rangeland livelihoods. The Rangeland Journal 33, 339–351.
CrossRef |

Landres, P. B., Verner, J., and Thomas, J. W. (1988). Ecological use of vertebrate indicator species: a critique. Conservation Biology 2, 316–328.
CrossRef |

Landsberg, J., and Crowley, G. (2004). Monitoring rangeland biodiversity: plants as indicators. Austral Ecology 29, 59–77.
CrossRef |

Landsberg, J., James, C. D., Maconochie, J., Nicholls, A. O., Stol, J., and Tynan, R. (2002). Scale-related effects of grazing on native plant communities in an arid rangeland region of South Australia. Journal of Applied Ecology 39, 427–444.
CrossRef |

Landsberg, J., James, C. D., Morton, S. R., Müller, W. J., and Stol, J. (2003). Abundance and composition of plant species along grazing gradients in Australian rangelands. Journal of Applied Ecology 40, 1008–1024.
CrossRef |

Low, W. A., Dudzinksi, M. L., and Müller, W. J. (1981). The influence of forage and climatic conditions on range community preference of shorthorn cattle in central Australia. Journal of Applied Ecology 18, 11–26.
CrossRef |

Mitchell, P. B. (1991). Historical perspectives on some vegetation and soil changes in semi-arid New South Wales. Plant Ecology 91, 169–182.
CrossRef |

National Herbarium of NSW (2012). PlantNet: New South Wales Flora Online. Available at: http://plantnet.rbgsyd.nsw.gov.au/

Oba, G., and Katira, L. M. (2006). Herder knowledge of landscape assessments in arid rangelands in northern Tanzania. Journal of Arid Environments 66, 168–186.
CrossRef |

Oba, G., Byakagaba, P., and Angassa, A. (2008). Participatory monitoring of biodiversity in east African grazing lands. Land Degradation & Development 19, 636–648.
CrossRef |

Orr, D. M. (1975). A review of the Astrebla (Mitchell grass) pastures in Australia. Tropical Grasslands 9, 21–36.

Orr, D. M. (1980). Effects of sheep grazing Astrebla grasslands in central Western Queensland. 1. Effects of grazing pressure and livestock. Australian Journal of Agricultural Research 31, 797–806.
CrossRef |

Orr, D. M., and Evenson, C. J. (1991). Effects of sheep grazing Astrebla grasslands in central western Queensland III. Dynamics of Astrebla spp. under grazing and exclosure between 1975 and 1986. The Rangeland Journal 13, 36–46.
CrossRef |

Petit, S., Waudby, H. P., Walker, A. T., Zanker, R., and Rau, G. (2012). A non-mutilating method for marking small wild mammals and reptiles. Australian Journal of Zoology 60, 64–71.
CrossRef |

Productive Nutrition (2009). ‘Outback Lakes Group Final Report—Best Practice Nutritional Management of Grazed Pasture Plants’. (South Australian Government: Adelaide, SA.)

Pyke, D. A., Herrick, J. E., Shaver, P., and Pellant, M. (2002). Rangeland health attributes and indicators for qualitative assessment. Journal of Range Management 55, 584–597.
CrossRef |

Read, J. L. (1999). The initial response of a chenopod shrubland plant and invertebrate community to two pulses of intensive cattle grazing. The Rangeland Journal 21, 169–193.
CrossRef |

Reed, M. S., and Dougill, A. J. (2002). Participatory selection process for indicators of rangeland condition in the Kalahari. The Geographical Journal 168, 224–234.
CrossRef |

Reed, M. S., Dougill, A. J., and Taylor, M. J. (2007). Integrating local and scientific knowledge for adaptation to land degradation: Kalahari rangeland management options. Land Degradation & Development 18, 249–268.
CrossRef |

Reed, M. S., Dougill, A. J., and Baker, T. R. (2008). Participatory indicator development: what can ecologists and local communities learn from each other? Ecological Applications 18, 1253–1269.
CrossRef | PubMed |

Roba, H. G., and Oba, G. (2009). Efficacy of integrating herder knowledge and ecological methods for monitoring rangeland degradation in northern Kenya. Human Ecology 37, 589–612.
CrossRef |

Salant, P., and Dillman, D. A. (1994). ‘How to conduct your own Survey.’ (John Wiley and Sons Inc.: New York.)

Smith, P. W. F., Forster, J. J., and McDonald, J. W. (1996). Monte Carlo exact tests for square contingency tables. Journal of the Royal Statistical Society. Series A, (Statistics in Society) 159, 309–321.
CrossRef |

Smyth, A. K., and James, C. D. (2004). Characteristics of Australia’s rangelands and key design issues for monitoring biodiversity. Austral Ecology 29, 3–15.
CrossRef |

Smyth, A. K., Brandle, R., Chewings, V., Read, J., Brook, A., and Fleming, M. (2009). A framework for assessing regional biodiversity condition under changing environments of the arid Australian rangelands. The Rangeland Journal 31, 87–101.
CrossRef |

Stafford Smith, D. M. (2008). The ‘desert syndrome’—causally-linked factors that characterise outback Australia. The Rangeland Journal 30, 3–14.
CrossRef |

State Herbarium of South Australia (2012). Electronic flora of South Australia. Available at: www.flora.sa.gov.au/

Stringer, L. C., Dougill, A. J., Fraser, E., Hubacek, K., Prell, C., and Reed, M. S. (2006). Unpacking ‘participation’ in the adaptive management of social-ecological systems: a critical review. Ecology and Society 11, 39–60.

Thornton, T. F., and Maciejewski Scheer, A. (2012). Collaborative engagement of local and Traditional Ecological Knowledge and science in marine environments: a review. Ecology and Society 17, 8–33.
CrossRef |

Tiver, F., and Andrew, M. H. (1997). Relative effects of herbivory by sheep, rabbits, goats and kangaroos on recruitment and regeneration of shrubs and trees in eastern South Australia. Journal of Applied Ecology 34, 903–914.
CrossRef |

Walsh, D., Andrew, M. H., Sinclair, R., and Coleman, D. (2005). Evidence for palatability variation between the sex phenotypes of bladder saltbush from small-plot grazing trials. The Rangeland Journal 27, 89–96.
CrossRef |

Walters, C. J., and Holling, C. S. (1990). Large-scale management experiments and learning by doing. Ecology 71, 2060–2068.
CrossRef |

Watson, I. W., Thomas, P. W. E., and Fletcher, W. J. (2007). The first assessment, using a rangeland monitoring system, of change in shrub and tree populations across the arid shrublands of Western Australia. The Rangeland Journal 29, 25–37.
CrossRef |

Waudby, H. P., Petit, S., and Robinson, G. (2012). Pastoralists’ perceptions of biodiversity and land management strategies in the arid Stony Plains region of South Australia: implications for policy-makers. Journal of Environmental Management 112, 96–103.
CrossRef | PubMed |

Wesuls, D., and Lang, H. (2010). Perceptions and measurements: the assessment of pasture states in a semi-arid area of Namibia. Human Ecology 38, 305–312.
CrossRef |

Whitfield, S., and Reed, M. S. (2012). Participatory environmental assessment in drylands: introducing a new approach. Journal of Arid Environments 77, 1–10.
CrossRef |

Wilson, A. D. (1994). Halophytic shrubs in semi-arid regions of Australia: value for grazing and land stablization. Tasks for Vegetation Science 32, 101–113.
CrossRef |

Wilson, A. D., Tupper, G. J., and Tongway, D. J. (1982). Range condition assessment in bladder saltbush (Atriplex vesicaria) communities. The Australian Rangeland Journal 4, 41–51.
CrossRef |


   
Subscriber Login
Username:
Password:  

 


    
Legal & Privacy | Contact Us | Help

CSIRO

© CSIRO 1996-2015