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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: Effects of Rangeland Disturbances on Vegetation and Livestock Grazing Behavior

Location: Range Sheep Production Efficiency Research

Project Number: 5364-31610-005-04
Project Type: Nonfunded Cooperative Agreement

Start Date: May 01, 2012
End Date: Apr 30, 2015

Objective:
Determine the effects of various chemical, biological, and(or) mechanical rangeland disturbances on vegetation dynamics and livestock grazing behavior in the sagebrush steppe.

Approach:
Long-term research will be conducted on healthy and some degraded rangelands. A series of experiments will be designed to define vegetation shifts in response to various rangeland disturbances, such as fire, grazing, herbicide application, tilling, and(or) seeding. Further research will be conducted to define livestock grazing behavior in response to composition and availability of vegetation. Vegetation data will be used to construct models for predicting vegetation recovery (native, healthy rangelands) or establishment (seeded, degraded rangelands) and time to climax community following various disturbances. Vegetation data will also be used to validate the use of remotely-acquired (i.e., satellite-based, aerial) imagery to assess vegetation cover, distribution, and frequency. Grazing behavior data will be used to construct models for predicting (1) vegetation dynamics in response to grazing activity and (2) livestock performance in response to vegetation type and availability. Grazing data will also be used to validate the use of remotely-acquired (i.e., satellite-based) data to define animal location and activity.

Last Modified: 9/10/2014
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