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  Rangeland Ecology & Management
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The Rangeland Journal publishes original work on the biophysical, social, cultural, economic, and policy influences affecting rangeland use and management. More

Editor-in-Chief: John Milne


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Published online 05 March 2015
Communal institutions for the management of rangeland resources and dairy production in Taleghan Valley, Northern Iran 
M. Ghorbani, A. A. Mehrabi, H. Azarnivand, S. Bastani, M. Jafari and K. Seeland

Mutual help among pastoralists plays a key role in herding in rural Iran where pastoralists share a rich knowledge of dairy production. A study was conducted on the local traditions of the dairy production chain because it is still largely based on reciprocal sharing of labour and milk and local traditions of social cohesion. An elaborate network of communal institutions, based on seasonal cooperation, was found to exist among pastoralists that regulate the use and management of milk and milk products. This study adds to the concept of traditional knowledge being a means of harmonising societal inequalities in rangelands.

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Published online 05 March 2015
The future of food production research in the rangelands: challenges and prospects for research investment, organisation and human resources 
C. W. Roxburgh and J. E. Pratley

The future of research on food production in the rangelands globally is reviewed and the challenges and prospects for research investment, the organisation of research and human resources issues highlighted. The major concerns identified are the lack of funds for rangelands research at both applied and strategic levels, and the unavailability of a well educated and trained workforce, which may hamper the rangelands from contributing sufficiently to global food security and national conservation goals.

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Published online 25 February 2015
The effects of passage through the gut of goats and cattle, and the application of dung as a fertiliser on seedling establishment of Dichrostachys cinerea and Acacia nilotica 
T. J. Tjelele, D. Ward and L. E. Dziba

Acacia species are considered invasive throughout many parts of the world, which reduce the grazing capacity of rangelands by limiting cover and production of grasses and forbs. Seedling recruitment of seeds of Dichrostachys cinerea and Acacia nilotica, dispersed by cattle and goats, was studied under natural conditions. Recruitment of seeds, retrieved from goats, was higher than seeds retrieved from cattle and untreated seeds. More seeds can potentially be recruited following seed ingestion by herbivores and, thereby, facilitate encroachment by woody plants.

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Published online 18 February 2015
The perception by pastoralists of the factors influencing the appropriate distribution of livestock in the rangelands of north-east Iran 
M. R. Shahraki, A. Abedi-Sarvestani, M.S. Seyedi, P. Rafiaani Khachak, A. Nieto-Garibay, S. Van Passel and H. Azadi

This study examines pastoralists’ perceptions of the factors that affect the distribution of livestock in the rangelands of the Neqab region of the Kashmar County in north-east Iran. Results showed that the perception of the majority of pastoralists was that the distribution of livestock was ‘average’ or ‘good’ in the study area. It was perceived that the experience of herders and the size of the rangeland were the main factors influencing the distribution of livestock and that managerial factors had a more important role than biological and physical factors in the distribution of livestock and the proper use of the rangelands in north-east Iran.

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Published online 05 February 2015
A novel protocol for assessment of aboveground biomass in rangeland environments 
Charity Mundava, Antonius G. T. Schut, Petra Helmholz, Richard Stovold, Graham Donald and David W. Lamb

This paper presents a novel protocol to measure aboveground biomass in heterogeneous environments. The protocol provides accurate assessments of total aboveground biomass for sites dominated by Bunch grass and Spinifex vegetation (Leave-Site-Out Q2 values of 0.70–0.88), whereas assessment of green aboveground biomass was accurate for all vegetation types (Leave-Site-Out Q2 values of 0.62–0.84). The protocol described can be applied at a range of scales while considerably reducing sampling time.

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blank image The Rangeland Journal
Volume 37 Number 1 2015
Enhancing the Resilience of Coupled Human and Natural Systems of Alpine Rangelands on the Qinghai-Tibetan Plateau

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Enhancing the resilience of coupled human and natural systems of alpine rangelands on the Qinghai-Tibetan Plateau 
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Shikui Dong and Ruth Sherman
pp. i-iii

This special issue covers a wide range of topics on the protection and sustainable management of alpine rangelands on the Qinghai-Tibetan Plateau (QTP), including Indigenous knowledge of sustainable rangeland management, science-policy interface for alpine rangeland biodiversity conservation, adaptations of local people to social and environmental changes and policy design for managing coupled human-natural systems of alpine rangelands.


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A critical review of socioeconomic and natural factors in ecological degradation on the Qinghai-Tibetan Plateau, China 
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Pu Wang , James P. Lassoie , Stephen J. Morreale and Shikui Dong
pp. 1-9

The potential socioeconomic and natural causes of grassland degradation on the Qinghai-Tibetan Plateau are critically examined in this article. Population growth, overgrazing, socio-cultural transformations and climate change are among the top potential causes of grassland degradation, but they influence grassland structure and function differently at different spatial and temporal scales. Thus, it becomes critical to analyse various natural and socioeconomic factors in each specific region when choosing amelioration or restoration schemes.


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Local perceptions of rangeland degradation and climate change in the pastoral society of Qinghai-Tibetan Plateau 
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Xiaoyu Wu , Xiangfeng Zhang , Shikui Dong , Hong Cai , Tianren Zhao , Wenjun Yang , Rong Jiang , Yandan Shi and Junlin Shao
pp. 11-19

The aim of the study was to examine the rangeland management systems and identify problems herders are facing in terms of production and livelihoods using a Participatory Rural Appraisal approach. The results showed that local herders perceived recent trends of rangeland degradation, climatic change and political changes. They also had developed management practices to adapt to these changes. It is suggested that policy-makers should recognise indigenous knowledge systems of grazing practices, rangeland management and the need for more advanced technical methods. They should not only pay more attention to climate change, social transformations and economic changes, but also strengthen public participation and cooperation with other institutions.


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Herdsmen’s attitudes towards rangeland fencing, protection of Przewalski’s gazelle and control of wolf predation on livestock 
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Jianbin Shi , Wenyuan You , Feiying Lu , Zihui Zhang and Xiaowen Li
pp. 21-29

Herdsmen play key role in addressing conflicts of carnivore-livestock-ungulates in Qinghai-Tibet plateau of China, but not enough studies have been conducted on this. This study has tried to understand the local herdsmen’s attitudes towards rangeland fencing, Przewalski’s gazelle protection and control of wolf predation on livestock, and found out that while most herdsmen are willing to protect the gazelle and won’t kill wolves, they consider wolf’s predation on their livestock a big problem and want compensation for de-fencing to protect the gazelle. The herdsmen need to be considered and involved in the development and implementation of any program to protect the gazelle, recovery of wolf populations and maintain rangeland ecosystems.


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Temporal-spatial changes in ecosystem services and implications for the conservation of alpine rangelands on the Qinghai-Tibetan Plateau 
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Xiao-Wen Li , Meng-Di Li , Shi-Kui Dong and Jian-Bin Shi
pp. 31-43

Three key ecosystem services, namely carbon storage, water provision and habitat quality, were simulated for the rangelands on the Qinghai-Tibetan Plateau by using the Integrated Valuation of Ecosystem Services and Trade-off model, and the hotspots of those ecosystem services were evaluated and identified. It was shown that alpine meadows played a key role compared with alpine steppe and alpine desert, in providing these ecosystem services in the alpine rangelands of the QTP. In addition, it was shown that there had been a considerable decrease in both the potential and the protected hotspots of ecosystem service between 1990 and 2000.


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A comparison of biodiversity–ecosystem function relationships in alpine grasslands across a degradation gradient on the Qinghai–Tibetan Plateau 
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Xuexia Wang , Shikui Dong , Ruth Sherman , Quanru Liu , Shiliang Liu , Yuanyuan Li and Yu Wu
pp. 45-55

Despite increasing evidence of the importance of plant diversity for ecosystem functioning in natural grasslands in the alpine region, the impacts of grassland degradation is not clear. The changes in plant and functional diversity may influence the ecosystem functions such as primary productivity, C and N stocks, soil conservation in degraded alpine grasslands. Therefore, it is important to restore the ecosystem functions of degraded alpine by protecting and increasing plant biodiversity according to the plant biodiversity-ecosystem function relationship.


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Effects of grazing and climate warming on plant diversity, productivity and living state in the alpine rangelands and cultivated grasslands of the Qinghai-Tibetan Plateau 
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Yong Zhang , Qingzhu Gao , Shikui Dong , Shiliang Liu , Xuexia Wang , Xukun Su , Yuanyuan Li , Lin Tang , Xiaoyu Wu and Haidi Zhao
pp. 57-65

The aim of this study was to detect the effects of grazing and climate warming on the health of alpine rangelands on the Qinghai-Tibetan Plateau. Grazing reduced the biomass of rangelands, but helped to maintain the biodiversity of rangelands, while the situation was conversed by experimental warming. The results of this research indicated that a scientific grazing regime should be adapted to utilise rangeland ecosystems sustainably in a warmer future.


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Spatio-temporal variability in rangeland conditions associated with climate change in the Altun Mountain National Nature Reserve on the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau over the past 15 years 
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S. L. Liu , H. D. Zhao , X. K. Su , L. Deng , S. K. Dong and X. Zhang
pp. 67-75

The aim of the study was to describe vegetation changes in the Altun Mountain National Nature Reserve, which are vital for biodiversity conservation, habitat protection and nature reserve management. Changes in vegetation and their correlation with climatic variables were studied over the period from 1998 to 2012. Generally, the vegetation showed an increasing trend over time but with several annual fluctuations. Both precipitation and temperature were positive correlated with positive changes in vegetation.


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Analysis of vegetation change associated with human disturbance using MODIS data on the rangelands of the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau 
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Haidi Zhao , Shiliang Liu , Shikui Dong , Xukun Su , Xuexia Wang , Xiaoyu Wu , Lei Wu and Xiang Zhang
pp. 77-87

The aim of the study was to quantify the spatio-temporal changes in vegetation characteristics from 2000 to 2012 in the rangelands of the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau and relate them to human disturbance. The vegetation values showed an upward trend over the study period, with 28.5% of the area exhibiting a significant increase. The proportion of rangelands that experienced a downward trend in vegetation increased as the level of human disturbance increased. Of the different rangeland types, meadow had the highest vegetation values, the greatest human disturbance, and the highest proportion of rangelands that exhibited a significant decrease in vegetation. The results of this work will help us to understand the links between human activities and rangeland degradation and help to better protect and sustainably utilise the rangeland ecosystems of the plateau.


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Effect of a grazing ban on restoring the degraded alpine meadows of Northern Tibet, China 
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W. N. Zhang , H. Ganjurjav , Y. Liang , Q. Z. Gao , Y. F. Wan , Y. Li , Y. Z. Baima and Z. M. Xirao
pp. 89-95

Banning of grazing is a widely used means of restoring degraded rangeland in China. However, little is known about the time required to restore degraded alpine meadows through the use of a grazing ban. An experiment compared continued grazing with a ban of grazing for different numbers of years. The results showed that a grazing ban can increase herbage mass and plant diversity but it is suggested that some grazing after a grazing ban may be necessary according to the dynamics of ecosystem responses with time.


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Changes in rangeland cover associated with livestock grazing in Altun National Nature Reserve, northwest Qinghai-Tibetan Plateau 
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Xukun Su , Shikui Dong , Shiliang Liu , Yu Wu , Haidi Zhao , Xiang Zhang , Jin Weng , Lin Tang , Xiaoyu Wu and Peng Hou
pp. 97-105

We focussed on rangeland cover change associated with livestock grazing in the Altun National Nature Reserve. There was a positive correlation between the change in area of sparse rangeland and the amount of livestock grazing. The change in non-rangeland was significantly negatively correlated with the amount of livestock grazing in the grazed area. Appropriate livestock grazing may be essential for promoting the resilience of the predominant ecosystems and key habitats of wildlife.


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Changes in vegetation composition and plant diversity with rangeland degradation in the alpine region of Qinghai-Tibet Plateau 
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Lin Tang , Shikui Dong , Ruth Sherman , Shiliang Liu , Quanru Liu , Xuexia Wang , Xukun Su , Yong Zhang , Yuanyuan Li , Yu Wu , Haidi Zhao , Chen Zhao and Xiaoyu Wu
pp. 107-115

The changes in vegetation composition and plant diversity of three different alpine ecosystems: alpine meadow, alpine steppe and alpine desert, impacted by different levels of degradation (healthy, lightly degraded and moderately degraded) were examined across a large-scale transect on the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau. The importance values of the dominant species and levels of diversity were measured by various vegetation indices. The plant composition of the alpine meadow and alpine steppe ecosystems was more stable and appeared more resistant to disturbance than that of the alpine desert ecosystem.


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Impacts of burrows and mounds formed by plateau rodents on plant species diversity on the Qinghai-Tibetan Plateau 
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Ruixin Wu , Qi Chai , Jianquan Zhang , Mengying Zhong , Yuehua Liu , Xiaoting Wei , Duo Pan and Xinqing Shao
pp. 117-123

The grassland ecosystem of the Tibetan plateau is being severely degraded by natural and human factors. Rodents have impact on grassland ecosystems because they can significantly change soil properties, ecosystem structure and plant communities. In large numbers, they have a negative effect on the ecosystem. The results demonstrated that burrow number and mound area had little impact on plant diversity indices which were mainly affected by altitude, soil total P content and pH. However, moderate rodent disturbance was associated with an increase in grassland productivity. Understanding these impacts is vital for better rangeland management practices so that rodents should be controlled within a suitable range rather than being exterminated.


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These articles have been peer reviewed and accepted for publication. They are still in production and have not been edited, so may differ from the final published form.

    RJ14097  Accepted 20 February 2015
    The relative impacts of grazing, fire and invasion by buffel grass (Cenchrus ciliaris) on the floristic composition of a rangeland savanna ecosystem
    Rod Fensham, Jian Wang, Cameron Kilgour

    RJ14105  Accepted 18 February 2015
    Seed availability, landscape suitability and the regeneration of perennial grasses in moderately-degraded rangelands in semi-arid Australia
    Judith Bean, Gavin Melville, Ronald Hacker, Stephen Clipperton

    RJ14107  Accepted 16 February 2015
    Floristics composition and pasture condition of Aristida/Bothriochloa pastures in Central Queensland. Part 2. Soil and pasture condition interactions.
    Richard Silcock, Trevor Hall, Pieter Filet, Alison Kelly, David Osten, Gavin Graham

    RJ14106  Accepted 16 February 2015
    Floristics composition and pasture condition of Aristida/Bothriochloa pastures in Central Queensland. Part 1. Pasture floristics.
    Richard Silcock, Trevor Hall, Pieter Filet, Alison Kelly, David Osten, Carla Schefe, Peter Knights

    RJ14062  Accepted 16 February 2015
    Effects of grazing systems on herbage mass and live-weight gain of Tibetan sheep in Eastern Qinghai-Tibetan Plateau, China
    Yi Sun, Jay Angerer, Fujiang Hou

    RJ14040  Accepted 11 February 2015
    Estimating the insurance rates for loss of annual production of grass herbage associated with natural disasters in China
    Xingpeng Liu, Jiquan Zhang, Weiying Cai, Yulong Bao

    RJ14101  Accepted 19 August 2014
    FOREWORD:- Fire - Carbon - Savanna special issue
    Tom Davison


The Most Read ranking is based on the number of downloads from the CSIRO PUBLISHING website of articles published in the previous 12 months. Usage statistics are updated daily.

Rank Paper Details
1. Published 3 April 2014
Principles and guidelines for managing cattle grazing in the grazing lands of northern Australia: stocking rates, pasture resting, prescribed fire, paddock size and water points – a review

L. P. Hunt, J. G. McIvor, A. C. Grice and S. G. Bray

2. Published 26 June 2014
Sustainable grazing management for temporal and spatial variability in north Australian rangelands – a synthesis of the latest evidence and recommendations

Peter O'Reagain, Joe Scanlan, Leigh Hunt, Robyn Cowley and Dionne Walsh

3. Published 3 April 2014
A comparison of stocking methods for beef production in northern Australia: pasture and soil surface condition responses

Trevor J. Hall, John G. McIvor, David J. Reid, Paul Jones, Neil D. MacLeod, Cam K. McDonald and David R. Smith

4. Published 26 June 2014
A rapid survey method for estimating population density of European rabbits living in native vegetation

Greg Mutze, Brian Cooke, Mark Lethbridge and Scott Jennings

5. Published 3 April 2014
Remotely-sensed analysis of ground-cover change in Queensland’s rangelands, 1988–2005

G. Bastin, R. Denham, P. Scarth, A. Sparrow and V. Chewings

6. Published 26 June 2014
Virtual herding for flexible livestock management – a review

Dean M. Anderson, Rick E. Estell, Jerry L. Holechek, Shanna Ivey and Geoffrey B. Smith

7. Published 24 September 2014
How hot? How often? Getting the fire frequency and timing right for optimal management of woody cover and pasture composition in northern Australian grazed tropical savannas. Kidman Springs Fire Experiment 1993–2013

Robyn A. Cowley, Mark H. Hearnden, Karen E. Joyce, Miguel Tovar-Valencia, Trisha M. Cowley, Caroline L. Pettit and Rodd M. Dyer

8. Published 3 April 2014
EcoFire: regional-scale prescribed burning increases the annual carrying capacity of livestock on pastoral properties by reducing pasture loss from wildfire

Anja Skroblin, Sarah Legge, Terry Webb and Leigh P. Hunt

9. Published 26 June 2014
Proximate causes and possible adaptive functions of mast seeding and barren flower shows in spinifex grasses (Triodia spp.) in arid regions of Australia

Boyd R. Wright, Alain F. Zuur and Gary C. K. Chan

10. Published 3 April 2014
Characterisation of locoweeds and their effect on livestock production in the western rangelands of China: a review

Hao Lu, Dan Dan Cao, Feng Ma, Shan Shan Wang, Xiao Wen Yang, Wen Long Wang, Qi Wu Zhou and Bao Yu Zhao

11. Published 28 October 2014
Resting pastures to improve land condition in northern Australia: guidelines based on the literature and simulation modelling

Joe C. Scanlan, John G. McIvor, Steven G. Bray, Robyn A. Cowley, Leigh P. Hunt, Lester I. Pahl, Neil D. MacLeod and Giselle L. Whish

12. Published 24 September 2014
Fire and carbon management in a diversified rangelands economy: research, policy and implementation challenges for northern Australia

Dionne Walsh, Jeremy Russell-Smith and Robyn Cowley

13. Published 26 June 2014
Phosphorus content of the soil influences the growth and productivity of Themeda triandra Forssk. and Microlaena stipoides (Labill.) R.Br.

Cameron E. F. Clark, Meredith L. Mitchell, Mohammed R. Islam and Brent Jacobs

14. Published 5 December 2014
Effects of mowing regimes and climate variability on hay production of Leymus chinensis (Trin.) Tzvelev grassland in northern China

Taogetao Baoyin, Frank Yonghong Li, Qinghai Bao, Hugjiltu Minggagud and Yankai Zhong

15. Published 24 September 2014
Fire patterns in north Australian savannas: extending the reach of incentives for savanna fire emissions abatement

Peter J. Whitehead, Jeremy Russell-Smith and Cameron Yates

16. Published 24 September 2014
Carbon projects and Indigenous land in northern Australia

Jeremy Dore, Christine Michael, Jeremy Russell-Smith, Maureen Tehan and Lisa Caripis

17. Published 5 December 2014
Herders’ perception of climate change does not always fit with actual climate change

Xiliang Li, Zhen Wang, Xiangyang Hou, Zhiying Liu, Sarula, Yanting Yin, Yong Ding and Jing Hu

18. Published 5 December 2014
The response of grassland productivity, soil carbon content and soil respiration rates to different grazing regimes in a desert steppe in northern China

Xiangyang Hou, Zhen Wang, Schellenberg P. Michael, Lei Ji and Xiangjun Yun

19. Published 24 September 2014
Impacts of fire on soil organic carbon stocks in a grazed semi-arid tropical Australian savanna: accounting for landscape variability

D. E. Allen, P. M. Bloesch, R. A. Cowley, T. G. Orton, J. E. Payne and R. C. Dalal

20. Published 3 April 2014
Grazing in sagebrush rangelands in western North America: implications for habitat quality for a sagebrush specialist, the pygmy rabbit

Meghan J. Camp, Janet L. Rachlow, Lisa A. Shipley, Timothy R. Johnson and Kelly D. Bockting

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