Grazingland Conservation Assessment
Pasture Systems & Watershed Management Research
2013 Annual Report
1a.Objectives (from AD-416):
Develop a decision support tool to incorporate environmental and conservation effects into forage species placement in the landscape.
1b.Approach (from AD-416):
The choice of where to use annual vs. perennial species in the landscape, and which species to use, depends on species characteristics, soil and climatic conditions, and production and conservation goals. Tools currently exist to inform placement of species based on the effects of species and site characteristics on forage production. However, expansion of these tools is needed to incorporate conservation goals into species placement recommendations. Under this objective, existing multi-species models will be identified and reviewed to determine their suitability for use in conservation planning for northeastern USA pastures. Existing forage production and conservation effects data sets will be collected and used to identify gaps in the existing tools, and research strategies for filling those gaps will be identified. This research will lay a sound foundation for development of a robust and defensible decision support tool that incorporates conservation goals into species placement.
Model comparison and assessment has been completed, and a report on the unsuitability of rangeland models for simulating pasture growth and management has been provided to NRCS. Specific areas that require improvement, most notably the inclusion of rotational grazing management, have been identified, and are being targeted for future research. Field data collections to support needs identified by this model assessment is ongoing.