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 1 2017

Cattle selectivity in natural grasslands is one of the most important aspects to understand herbivore behaviour, and accordingly, a key factor necessary for improving livestock production in rangelands. We found that cattle landscape selectivity was mainly driven by the cover of short plants. Strength of selectivity and associated grazing distribution patterns were different depending on paddock management and characteristics. Effective methods of changing animal distribution involve paddock design and manipulation of forage types, while the role of stocking rate remains controversial.

RJ16014A woody plant community and tree-cacti associations change with distance to a water source in a dry Chaco forest of Argentina

Carolina B. Trigo, Andrés Tálamo, Mauricio M. Núñez-Regueiro, Enrique J. Derlindati, Gustavo A. Marás, Alicia H. Barchuk and Antonio Palavecino
pp. 15-23

Despite the regional importance of livestock production in arid and semiarid regions, little is known about the possible effects of livestock on the regeneration of woody plant communities in dry forests. We evaluated the interaction of native woody plants and livestock pressure; when we compared areas far from a water source (low pressure) with areas near a water source (high pressure), we found lower plant abundance and richness, and higher number of spatial associations between young trees and cacti key species near the water source. We propose that livestock has a strong impact on forest structure, and the association between trees and cacti could act as regeneration mechanism with possible restauration applications.

RJ16049Exploring relationships between native vertebrate biodiversity and grazing land condition

Scott A. Parsons, Alex Kutt, Eric P. Vanderduys, Justin J. Perry and Lin Schwarzkopf
pp. 25-37

A land condition assessment scale designed to assess land condition for grazing was a poor estimator of native vertebrate biodiversity. Although some factors measured by the scale were useful for assessing habitat for wildlife, downgrading condition due to the presence of native woody vegetation in land condition assessments worked strongly against correct assessment of land for biodiversity and natural heritage.

Best practice management guides are an important way of reaching land managers in Australia with comprehensive information on managing invasive species. We sought to determine the effectiveness of best practice management guides as well as the range of evaluation approaches available through a review of literature, concluding that limited information is available on best practice management guide effectiveness, and that evaluation is likely to be challenging. However, the literature does suggest that some evaluation options are available to government agencies distributing these materials.

High costs of planting seed to promote restoration of native grasslands can be reduced by establishment of small (<1 ha) fenced seed production areas at suitable sites within degraded grasslands. On mulga country, the most suitable sites were characterised by rocky outcrops, which favoured establishment of two desirable species and were unfavourable for two undesirable species. Location of these rocky outcrops at high points in the landscape aided dispersal of the seed produced.

RJ16048Managing competitive interactions to promote regeneration of native perennial grasses in semi-arid south-eastern Australia

Ronald B. Hacker, Ian D. Toole, Gavin J. Melville, Yohannes Alemseged and Warren J. Smith
pp. 59-71

Restoration of native perennial grasses in a degraded semi-arid woodland was best promoted by broad-spectrum weed control but at the expense of short-term biomass production. Oversowing with unfertilised crop or pasture species, intended to absorb available soil nitrogen and reduce competition from exotic annuals, reduced perennial grass recruitment but did not prevent it. At times, sown species substantially increased short-term biomass production. Sown species reduced available soil nitrogen thus conditioning the site for future perennial grass recruitment.

As the global demand for native seeds for ecosystem restoration increases, plant phenological studies should be pursued to contribute to strategies for seed supply from wild or managed sources. Nineteen arid zone species of different life-forms including grasses, shrubs and trees were studied in the Pilbara, Western Australia, to determine their seasonal flowering and seed production patterns. Two distinct seed collection seasons are evident in the Pilbara, indicating that co-existing species exploit the available resources differently. These disparate flowering and seed production seasons may represent adaptations to the surrounding arid environment where water is a limiting resource.

Naturalised non-native plants that become invasive pose a serious incursion threat to biodiversity, agricultural businesses and community health. Understanding and quantifying the invasion threat of these species within protected areas is fundamental to long-term conservation of biodiversity. Twenty-seven weeds of State significance were observed inside and 41 weed species were observed outside of protected areas in the Cape York Peninsula bioregion, whereas 25 such weeds were only observed outside the protected areas in the Desert Uplands bioregion.

RJ16052Dynamics of grazing rights and their impact on mobile cattle herders in Bhutan

Kuenga Namgay, Joanne E. Millar and Rosemary S. Black
pp. 97-104

Seasonal cattle movements, an important part of the living cultural heritage in Bhutan, is threatened by land-use change policies. Study on impacts of such change on livelihoods of herders revealed lack of herder involvement and advocacy in the process. Restriction on movement could impact herders and the environment negatively, calling future policy development be more inclusive and use scientific evidence.

Online Early

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

Published online 21 February 2017

RJ16020Sensitivity of soil organic carbon to grazing management in the semi-arid rangelands of south-eastern Australia

S. E. Orgill, C. M. Waters, G. Melville, I. Toole, Y. Alemseged and W. Smith

The role of grazing management in rangeland soil carbon sequestration is unclear despite the considerable climate mitigation potential. Herein we show that the management of grazing intensity through total grazing pressure control, which incorporates long periods of rest, increased the stock of organic carbon by 0.6% or 8.34 t ha–1 (0–0.3 m) for only some parts of the landscape, such as the ridges, but decreased or had no effect in other parts of the landscape. Increases in carbon stocks were consistently associated with higher ground cover (litter and perennial) and proximity to trees.

Published online 16 February 2017

RJ16068Plant species selection by sheep in semi-natural dry grasslands extensively grazed in the south-western Italian Alps

Marco Pittarello, Alessandra Gorlier, Giampiero Lombardi and Michele Lonati

Feeding preferences of sheep were assessed in abandoned, semi-natural, dry grasslands by using monitoring with GPS collars under extensive grazing management. Distance to night pens, gentler terrain, and water troughs affected sheep behaviour. Sheep exerted a marked selection among single plant species, and stocking density affected the consumption of specific plant species.

Published online 31 January 2017

RJ16016Impala, Aepyceros melampus: does browse quality influence their use of sites originally utilised as short-duration kraals in a southern African savanna?

Rangarirai Huruba, Peter J. Mundy, Allan Sebata, Gianetta K. Purchase and Duncan N. MacFadyen

This study investigated the use of sites originally utilised as short-duration cattle kraals by impala. Impala use of these sites was influenced by the quality of the woody plants resprouts. The resprouts had higher foliar nutrients and lower condensed tannins concentrations than the surrounding vegetation.

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