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 Number 3 2017

The link between rangeland health and grazing system was evaluated in communal, small-scale and large-scale commercial farming systems of Zimbabwe. The communal grazing system was the most detrimental management system based on five key indicators. There is need to overhaul the existing communal grazing system in favour of a more sustainable rest-and-rotation system that gives defoliated plants time to recover.

RJ16126Grazing pressure impacts on two Aristida/Bothriochloa native pasture communities of central Queensland

Trevor J. Hall, Paul Jones, Richard G. Silcock and Piet G. Filet
pp. 227-243

Poorly managed grazing pressure can degrade pastures and cause pastoralists economic hardship. We subjected poplar box and ironbark eucalypt woodlands in the Aristida/Bothriochloa native pasture community in Queensland to four different grazing pressures over 8 years with half the paddocks recently cleared. Increasing grazing pressure reduced pasture mass, pasture crown cover and ground cover, and reduced the proportion of important forages Themeda triandra and Dichanthium sericeum and undesirable Aristida species. Sustained high grazing pressure resulted in poor pasture production and composition.

RJ16034Flooding effects on grassland species composition in the Azul creek basin, Argentina

Ilda Entraigas, Natalia Vercelli, Guadalupe Ares, Marcelo Varni and Sofía Zeme
pp. 245-252

Natural grasslands of Argentina are the most important source of forage for livestock and seem to be, at first sight, internally homogeneous communities. But these grasslands are actually true mosaics formed by patches of vegetation that get their expression from different factors (some of them from soil characteristics, and others from their hydrodynamics). In areas with relief as subtle as this area, topography per se does not explain the internal heterogeneity of these grasslands, but water is the great modeller of these landscapes.

Rangeland function determination at the sub-basin scale can facilitate and accelerate rangeland management. This study examined the potential of remotely-sensed landscape function indices in semi-arid rangelands in Iran. Our findings highlight that these indices could determine rangeland functionality in sub-basins with different levels of degradation, therefore, they can be used in combination with field methods in future decision-making about rangeland landscapes.

RJ16113Application of a livestock weight model to the 2009–2010 winter disaster in Mongolia

Kaoru Tachiiri, Hiroshi Komiyama, Yuki Morinaga and Masato Shinoda
pp. 263-277

In Mongolia, snow disasters combined with drought in the previous summer, called dzud in Mongolian, are serious threats to the national livestock sector. To mitigate the damage of dzuds, we developed a system to calculate sheep weight from climate and remote sensing data, and applied it to a 2009–2010 dzud. We thereby confirmed that the modelled weight had statistically significant consistency with observed sheep mortality. The system shows strong potential for mitigation of dzud damage.

Poisonous plants have caused increasing economic losses to livestock producers in Xinjiang, a large region in arid north-western China. Species distribution modelling was used to investigate spatial patterns of poisonous plants and assess their future expansion under projected climate change scenarios. Output from the model indicated that four poisonous plant hotspots currently exist in the region and these areas had the highest risk for expansion in the future. Policies that promote monitoring and prevention measures that would reduce future expansion are recommended.

The assessment of the relative roles of climate and human factors in vegetation degradation is important to understand the driving mechanisms of vegetation degradation. This paper showed that both the vegetation degradation and restoration were dominated by human activities compared with climate change. Human activities played a demonstrably positive role in vegetation restoration. This study may be useful for human management of mitigating vegetation degradation and benefit the ecological restoration programmes to contrapuntally implement ecological restoration projects in future.

Online Early

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

Overgrazing and associated grassland degradation linked to rising human and animal populations and a move from transhumance grazing systems to fixed family land allocations is an emerging problem on the Qinghai-Tibetan Plateau (QTP). Geographic movement of animals onto the QTP for growing season grazing (June–September) may be an alternative grazing system for this region. This study reports weight gains of hoggets grazing alpine meadow pasture in such a system under three different grazing regimes in the growing season and early cold season (September–December).

Published online 30 August 2017

RJ17024Ecosystem restoration: recent advances in theory and practice

T. A. Jones

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.

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.

Published online 22 August 2017

RJ17056Reflections on four decades of land restoration in Australia

Andrew Campbell, Jason Alexandra and David Curtis

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.

Published online 10 August 2017

RJ16070Patterns of herders’ adaptation to changes in social–ecological systems across northern China’s grasslands over the past three decades

Xiliang Li, Yong Ding, Yanting Yin, Tingting Yang, Zhiying Liu, Weibo Ren, JiangLi Zhang, Sarula, Yuanheng Li and Xiangyang Hou

Local strategies are key to adapting to the global environmental change in semiarid regions. This paper found the transformation of herders’ behavioural strategies resulted from variations in spatial and temporal patterns of climate change, pasture degradation, new policies and marketisation in pastoral areas in Inner Mongolia, China. Herders’ adaptation is the basic of the adaptive management in grassland regions under future challenges of global change.

Published online 27 July 2017

RJ17025Seed ecology of Captain Cook tree [Cascabela thevetia (L.) Lippold] – germination and longevity

Faiz F. Bebawi, Shane D. Campbell and Robert J. Mayer

Cascabela thevetia (Captain Cook tree; yellow oleander) has become an invasive weed in northern Australia. Seven experiments related to seed germination and longevity of its yellow and peach biotypes were undertaken. Both biotypes germinated across a wide range of temperature regimes and under both natural light and shade conditions. With seeds appearing to remain viable for only 2 years in the field, this weed is manageable provided annual control activities are undertaken to help prevent replenishment of soil seed banks.

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