The Rangeland Journal The Rangeland Journal Society
Rangeland ecology and management

The Rangeland Journal

The Rangeland Journal

The Rangeland Journal publishes original work on the biophysical, social, cultural, economic, and policy influences affecting rangeland use and management. Read more about the journalMore

Editor-in-Chief: Paul Novelly

Current Issue

The Rangeland Journal

Volume 39 Numbers 5 & 6 2017

Restore, Regenerate, Revegetate; Restoring Ecological Processes, Ecosystems and Landscapes in a Changing World

RJ17133Restore, regenerate, revegetate; restoring ecological processes, ecosystems and landscapes in a changing world

R. D. B. (Wal) Whalley and Rhiannon Smith
pp. i-v

RJ17056Reflections on four decades of land restoration in Australia

Andrew Campbell, Jason Alexandra and David Curtis
pp. 405-416

The past four decades have seen the gradual incorporation of conservation practices such as ecological restoration, revegetation and agroforestry in Australian farming systems as a response to land degradation. While actions have been impressive they remain fragmented, are confined to particular districts or properties and run the risk of not being built upon in the future. This paper traces the history of this movement, and draws out lessons and implications for future policy development and research.


Ecosystem disturbance will be inevitably exacerbated as human populations rise, thus restoration efforts must become more effective in sustaining healthy ecosystems worldwide. Ecological restoration is still a young field, but a greater variety of options is being considered than in the past as more intractable environmental problems are being addressed. An improved understanding of plant traits, function, and adaptation; secondary succession; soil ecology; and plant evolution and provenance is contributing to more effective restoration practices.


Restoration efforts in the United States are becoming more numerous, comprehensive, and diverse. Riparian, rangeland, wetland, estuarine, watershed, prairie, and forest examples demonstrate how a diversity of ecosystems have sustained extensive modification through inadvertent and intentional anthropogenic change. Restoration efforts have had varying degrees of success, entail many different approaches, and demonstrate that much can be learned from both restoration successes and failures.

RJ17071An ecosystem services filter for rangeland restoration

Joel R. Brown and Neil D. MacLeod
pp. 451-459

Rangeland restoration ecology has successfully focused on technical tools to alter ecological processes, particularly plant species composition. Although productive, this approach lacks urgency in elevating rangeland-based projects within the larger public interest. In this paper, we suggest that an increased emphasis on the alterations of ecosystems services as a result of restoration efforts could improve the relevance and success of proposed projects.


Farmland revegetation is important for farm productivity, amenity, aesthetics, capital value and biodiversity conservation. As farmers have to foot the bill to restore native tree cover, my family has funded annual revegetation works as part of our property’s farm business plan for the past 36 years. The production, financial, personal and wildlife benefits of our revegetation strategy are obvious at farm scale, but broader social, economic and environmental benefits require further investigation.

RJ17069Nature conservation and ecological restoration in a changing climate: what are we aiming for?

Suzanne M. Prober, Kristen J. Williams, Linda M. Broadhurst and Veronica A. J. Doerr
pp. 477-486

To address the challenge of establishing new nature conservation goals under climate change, we established a framework of human motivations implicit in historically focussed conservation approaches, and drew on this to propose five guiding principles. These include optimising ecosystem functions and processes, maintaining evolutionary potential, minimising species losses, maintaining evolutionary character, and maintaining wild natural systems. We argue that by connecting with underlying motivations for conservation, these principles will help us move towards more effective nature conservation in a rapidly changing world.


Native seed is often assumed to be plentiful and available for most species, when in reality seasonal variability influences which species will set seed and the volume being produced. Small and isolated plant populations are also more likely to produce poor quality seed if inbreeding is high and other factors associated with vegetation fragmentation such as habitat degradation are present. Overcoming these limitations will improve seed-based restoration activities by increasing the diversity of species being planted and the area that can be planted.


The unique and diverse Australian flora and fauna is mirrored in the varied pollination systems that drive and support this diversity. Successful restoration of degraded landscapes may often depend on providing habitat for pollinators and the re-installation of an array of plant species that provide a staggered supply of flowers to support the pollinators. Caroline Gross explores the re-establishment of pollination services in degraded landscapes with suggestions of how to build resilience into restored ecosystems.

RJ17046Invasive species and their impacts on agri-ecosystems: issues and solutions for restoring ecosystem processes

Peter J. S. Fleming, Guy Ballard, Nick C. H. Reid and John P. Tracey
pp. 523-535

Weeds and pest animals impact negatively on many agricultural and natural Australasian ecosystems. After reviewing theoretical perspectives of invasive species science and management, and discussing what makes a successful biological invader, some conceptual undercurrents are addressed before restoration can be considered. Finally, a practical working framework for managing invasive species for restoring invaded ecosystems is outlined.

RJ17073Managing invasive plants on sub-Antarctic Macquarie Island

Brian M. Sindel, Paul E. Kristiansen, Susan C. Wilson, Justine D. Shaw and Laura K. Williams
pp. 537-549

Australia’s most southerly rangeland, sub-Antarctic Macquarie Island, is among the last true wilderness areas on the planet and home to unique ecosystems and abundant wildlife. Research in such a remote, cold, wet and windy place is fraught with difficulties. Despite the research challenges we are discovering why weeds have survived so well in this harsh environment. Our results will be used to develop effective, low-impact control or eradication options for sub-Antarctic weeds to complement eradication programs for pest herbivores.


Rural law is often not sufficiently effective in changing behaviour, and too costly. Using modern behavioural science such as precise targeting of messages and interventions can help to overcome both these problems. This study shows that contemporary methods can identify discrete land-user segments with unique psychographic profiles, and argues that the effectivenesss of weed management regulations and other behaviour change interventions can be improved by targeting each segment.


In a rapidly changing world, it is important to ensure that restoration science and practice delivers outcomes that are both achievable and effective. Flexible goals are required to fit with different motivations and levels of resourcing. This requires open discussion of the potential and limitations of restoration across a wide range of situations.

Online Early

The peer-reviewed and edited version of record published online before inclusion in an issue

Published online 22 January 2018

RJ17068Factors affecting herder adoption of winter lambing practices in the desert steppe region of Inner Mongolia, China

Yantin Yin, Zhen Wang, Xiliang Li, Colin Langford, Xiangjun Yun, Huaibin Mu and Xiangyang Hou
 

Winter lambing practices are a ‘win-win’ strategy for reducing the grassland degradation and improving herder livelihood in China, but the adoption rate is still low. This paper explored the factors influencing herder adoption, and found that herders with a Han background, who were nearer to market and had neighbours adopting winter lambing, were more likely to adopt them. It recommends that more extension services, improved infrastructure and more demonstration farms be provided.

Published online 12 January 2018

RJ17089Response of leaf traits of common plants in alpine meadow to plateau pika disturbance

Xiao Pan Pang and Zheng Gang Guo
 

Plateau pikas create disturbances in the plants of alpine meadow. This study investigated the response of leaf traits to plateau pika disturbances and found that the disturbance intensities of plateau pika alter the leaf traits of three plants; these three plants exhibited different adaptations to the different disturbance intensities of plateau pika, which enabled the alpine meadow to improve or degrade.

Published online 12 January 2018

RJ16097Temporal and spatial heterogeneity of drought impact on vegetation growth on the Inner Mongolian Plateau

Miao Bailing, Li Zhiyong, Liang Cunzhu, Wang Lixin, Jia Chengzhen, Bao Fuxiang and Jiang Chao
 

Drought frequency and intensity have increased substantially on the Inner Mongolian Plateau, but the extent and timing of drought impacts on different vegetation types have not been clear. Our results show that drought reduced vegetation growth to the greatest extent in typical steppe and desert steppe and in summer, highlighting increased drought as a crucial factor driving changes in vegetation productivity.

Published online 12 January 2018

RJ16084A comprehensive appraisal of four kinds of forage under irrigation in Xilingol, Inner Mongolia, China

Yulong Yan, Zhiqiang Wan, Ran Chao, Yiqing Ge, Yali Chen, Rui Gu, Qingzhu Gao and Jie Yang
 

The effects of irrigation on three varieties of lucerne (alfalfa) and a forage grass were studied in a field experiment in Inner Mongolia. Irrigation significantly increased forage quality in the lucerne varieties and substantially increased expected profits. Irrigation was less profitable for the grass.

Published online 12 December 2017

RJ17033Estimation of aboveground herbaceous biomass using visually ranked digital photographs

Helen R. Morgan, Nick Reid and John T. Hunter
 

Estimation of herbaceous biomass is important in range management, ecological monitoring and restoration. Traditional methods involve repetitive vegetation clipping in the field so we developed a more efficient, less destructive method. The photographic estimation technique is reliable, uses basic equipment and can be implemented by practitioners for accurately measuring herbaceous biomass.

Published online 12 December 2017

RJ16074Responses of aboveground biomass and soil organic carbon to projected future climate change in Inner Mongolian grasslands

Qiuyue Li, Xuebiao Pan, Lizhen Zhang, Chao Li, Ning Yang, Shuo Han and Caihua Ye
 

Models can help decision makers to understand the potential impact of climate change. After finding that the CENTURY model simulated biomass and soil organic carbon in ungrazed Inner Mongolian grasslands with acceptable agreement, we used it to simulate these parameters under two climate-change scenarios: one intermediate and one substantial. Our findings that biomass increased on average in both scenarios while soil organic carbon decreased on average suggest opportunities for balancing sustainable land use and economic development.

Published online 24 October 2017

RJ16073Influence of climatic factors on variation in the Normalised Difference Vegetation Index in Mongolian Plateau grasslands

Xu-Juan Cao, Qing-Zhu Gao, Ganjurjav Hasbagan, Yan Liang, Wen-Han Li and Guo-Zheng Hu
 

NDVI in Inner Mongolia and Mongolia grasslands showed similar temporal trends from 1981 to 2013 being positive to 1994, then negative to 2007. Climate factors showed substantial spatial variability and moisture was confirmed as the most important limiting factor on NDVI. Climate change, projected to involve temperature increases with little or no change in precipitation and ongoing spatial and temporal variability, can be expected to drive decreases in grassland productivity.

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