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  Rangeland Ecology & Management
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Article << Previous     |     Next >>   Contents Vol 32(4)

Rangeland condition in relation to environmental variables, grazing intensity and livestock owners’ perceptions in semi-arid rangeland in western Iran

M. Faramarzi A B C, S. Kesting A, J. Isselstein A, N. Wrage A

A Institute of Grassland Science, Department of Crop Sciences, University of Goettingen, Goettingen, Germany.
B Present address: Natural Resources Group, Faculty of Agricultural Sciences, Ilam University, Ilam, Iran.
C Corresponding author. Emails: faramarzi.marzban@gmail.com and mfarama@gwdg.de
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Rangeland condition has often been assessed in relation to either botanical, edaphic, environmental or management factors. In this investigation, we analysed the interaction of soil and topographic variables, management and range condition against the background of a sociological survey of livestock owners in western Iran to better understand the main influencing factors of rangeland quality in the area. In four grazing areas in Kermanshah differing in grazing pressure, environmental variables and livestock owners’ perceptions on range condition, investigations of botanical composition, soil and topographic variables were carried out on 43 main plots. To evaluate range condition, four factors were considered, namely litter frequency, herbage palatability, amount of biomass, and percentage of bare soil. A questionnaire was used to obtain information about management practices, the perception of livestock owners on range condition and suggested solutions to problems in the different grazing areas. The range condition scores showed that the condition of the sites was either fair or poor. Of the soil and topographic factors, only north-facing aspect explained part of the variation in range condition scores. High grazing intensity was associated with poor range condition. To improve the rangeland condition, measures influencing water availability and a reduction of grazing pressure seem to be more relevant in the study area than fertilisation or seeding.

Keywords: degradation, management, overgrazing, rangeland quality, soil and topographic variables.

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