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 40 Number 1 2018

RJ17057Nutrient composition and in vitro methane production of sub-tropical grass species in transitional rangeland of South Africa

C. J. L. du Toit, W. A. van Niekerk, H. H. Meissner, L. J. Erasmus and L. Morey
pp. 1-8

Extensive livestock production systems produce most livestock-related greenhouse gas emissions and in particular methane emissions. The study investigates the influence of rangeland composition and ecological status on the nutritional quality and methanogenic potential of the rangeland. The results of the study will assist plant breeders, rangeland managers and livestock managers to select specific grass species and to develop defoliation programs that will improve livestock production in a sustainable manner.


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.


Mapping the ecological characteristics of grass species is essential for scientific management of grasslands. Traditional field-survey methods are costly or even impossible owing to poor accessibility. This study demonstrated that the hyperspectral database method provides great potential to predict the ecological characteristics of grass species in alpine grasslands.

RJ17085Quantifying leucaena cultivation extent on grazing land

Terrence S. Beutel, Debra H. Corbet, Madonna B. Hoffmann, Stuart R. Buck and Marco Kienzle
pp. 31-38

Leucaena is a perennial fodder crop that can significantly increase beef production on substantial parts of the world’s grazing lands. We used a new method to survey leucaena cultivations across Australia’s prime leucaena-growing region, and found far less leucaena present than suggested by recently published estimates. This new method presents a number of potential benefits for the beef industry and other stakeholders in leucaena adoption.


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.

RJ17121Environmental factors affecting the germination and emergence of white horehound (Marrubium vulgare L.): a weed of arid-zone areas

Muhammad M. Javaid, Singarayer K. Florentine, Hafiz H. Ali and Bhagirath S. Chauhan
pp. 47-54

White horehound (Marrubium vulgare L.), is a troublesome weed of arid zones, particularly in cropping and grazing areas. Present study investigated the effects of temperature, light, osmotic potential, salinity, pH, and seeding depth on seed germination and seedling emergence of white horehound. Seeds germinated over a wide range of temperatures. Burial depth study shows that nil seedling emergence was occurred at 4-cm burial depth. Effective management of white horehound should consider targeting surface located seeds.

RJ17092Effect of GPS sample interval and paddock size on estimates of distance travelled by grazing cattle in rangeland, Australia

Sharon L. McGavin, Greg J. Bishop-Hurley, Ed Charmley, Paul L. Greenwood and Matthew J. Callaghan
pp. 55-64

Apparent distance travelled by an animal calculated from GPS coordinates may be incorrect and selecting an optimum sample interval is critical. Factors affecting optimal interval include accuracy of the fixes and tortuosity of the path taken. This paper considers the optimum interval for free ranging cattle in eastern Australia, and probable error at varied sample intervals. Distances walked by cattle appeared to increase with increasing paddock size, however further study is needed.

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
pp. 65-75

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.

RJ17100How do herders do well? Profitability potential of livestock grazing in Inner Mongolia, China, across ecosystem types

Ping Li, Joleen C. Hadrich, Brian E. Robinson, Yulu Hou, Yating Dai and Xiangyang Hou
pp. 77-90

A household survey was distributed to Inner Mongolian herders across five ecosystems to collect information on financial and production decisions in 2009 and 2014. Economic enterprise budgets that consider farm-level profit goals in conjunction with ecosystem and grassland outcomes were estimated to help direct herder management decisions. Herders in the meadow steppe, desert steppe and typical steppe ecosystems had the largest fluctuation in profit and stocking rates over the 5 years in addition to the largest reported external weather shocks.

Online Early

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

Published online 16 April 2018

RJ17047Ecological responses of Stipa steppe in Inner Mongolia to experimentally increased temperature and precipitation 5: Synthesis and implications

Guozheng Hu, Zhiqiang Wan, Yali Chen, Luomeng Chao, Qingzhu Gao, Xuexia Wang and Jie Yang
 

Experimental results indicate that predicted future climate involving warmer temperatures and 10–20% increased precipitation, could benefit the Stipa steppe vegetation community by increasing community diversity, biomass, gross ecosystem productivity and carbon sequestration.

Published online 09 April 2018

RJ16080Ecological responses of Stipa steppe in Inner Mongolia to experimentally increased temperature and precipitation. 4. Carbon exchange

Luomeng Chao, Zhiqiang Wan, Yulong Yan, Rui Gu, Yali Chen and Qingzhu Gao
 

Aspects of carbon exchange were investigated in Stipa steppe east of Xilinhot city in Inner Mongolia. Increased precipitation significantly increased soil respiration, ecosystem respiration, net ecosystem exchange and net ecosystem productivity whereas warming tended to reduce them.

Published online 09 April 2018

RJ16086Response of plant functional traits at species and community levels to grazing exclusion on Inner Mongolian steppe, China

Jinghui Zhang, Yongmei Huang, Huiying Chen, Jirui Gong, Yu Qi, Engui Li and Xiuchen Wu
 

Variations in ecosystem function in response to land-use changes may be reflected in differences in the functional traits of plants. Species-level traits revealed that annual species were associated with rapid acquisition of resources, whereas perennial grasses were associated with conservation of resources. Community-level traits imply that grazing exclusion is beneficial to the recovery of carbon and to nutrient storage. Results support plant functional traits as indicators of environmental or management change, and for explaining changes in ecosystem function.

Published online 05 April 2018

RJ17106Land rental, prices and the management of China’s grasslands: the case of Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region

Qiao Guanghua, Zhang Bao, Zhang Jing and Colin Brown
 

Addressing grassland degradation and herder livelihoods remains a fundamental agri-environmental issue in China, while land transfer among herders has become more prevalent in recent times. Analysis of household survey information reveals that grassland rental has facilitated herder specialisation and reduced stocking rates but also reveals limitations in the rental market. Overcoming some of the limitations and improving land transfer may improve grassland degradation and herder livelihoods.

Published online 19 March 2018

RJ16075Nitrogen deposition changes the distribution of key plant species in the meadow steppe in Hulunbeier, China

Wang Xuan, Wang Xin Ting, Liang Cun Zhu and Niu Yong Mei
 

The impact of increased nutrients on the spatial patterning of plant species was studied in meadow steppe in order to improve understanding of the effects of global increases in nitrogen deposition. We found that nitrogen deposition at different concentrations had varied impacts on interspecific associations, and that nitrogen and phosphorus applied in tandem increased spatial aggregation of a rhizomatous grass.

Published online 19 March 2018

RJ16083Ecological responses of Stipa steppe in Inner Mongolia to experimentally increased temperature and precipitation. 3. Soil respiration

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

On the Stipa steppe of Inner Mongolia, soil respiration was reduced by warming and elevated by increased precipitation, with the combination of warming and increased precipitation producing an intermediate result. Results suggest that soil respiration will be more sensitive to soil moisture than to soil temperature under anticipated climate changes in the region.


Design of an experiment to evaluate the effects of climate change on the Stipa steppe of Inner Mongolia is described. Experimental treatments simulated changes in temperature and precipitation similar to those projected for the region by mid-century. The treatments thus provide a framework for evaluation of the ecological effects of climate change on the grassland ecosystem, reported in companion papers.


Aspects of plant species diversity and sward characteristics were investigated in typical steppe in east of Xilinhot city, Inner Mongolia. Warming significantly increased biomass, density and diversity; however, increased precipitation without warming did not have significant effects.

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 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 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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