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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: MANAGING FORAGE AND GRAZING LANDS FOR MULTIPLE ECOSYSTEM SERVICES Title: Understanding diet selection in temperate biodiverse pasture systems

Authors
item Villalba, Juan -
item Soder, Kathy
item Laca, Emilio -

Submitted to: Rangeland Ecology and Management
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: January 15, 2009
Publication Date: September 1, 2009
Citation: Villalba, J.J., Soder, K.J., Laca, E.A. 2009. Understanding diet selection in temperate biodiverse pasture systems. Rangeland Ecology and Management. 62(5):387-388.

Interpretive Summary: Consumer and producer interest in the development of a more sustainable agriculture system, with less dependence on external finite resources, has increased substantially. A set of symposium papers addressing contemporary, interdisciplinary research on plant-herbivore interactions, animal responses and grazing management in temperate biodiverse pasture systems are featured in this Special Feature of Rangeland Ecology and Management. There is renewed interest in grazing systems due to increased competition for grain with the energy and food sector. Additionally, livestock producers have a growing interest in finding low-cost and renewable production methods, such as grazing, that reduce the need for high-cost energy and chemical inputs. Consumers in the developed world increasingly demand products that are produced by environmentally friendly production methods and are willing to pay a premium for these products, which also helps boost farm income. The papers in this special feature address the current state of knowledge regarding livestock responses to plant species diversity, and stimulate the reader with new ideas aimed at better understanding this complex system and creating novel and innovative management approaches that promote and capitalize on biodiversity in temperate pasture systems.

Technical Abstract: Consumer and producer interest in the development of a more sustainable agriculture system, with less dependence on external finite resources, has increased substantially. A symposium addressing contemporary, interdisciplinary research on plant-herbivore interactions, animal responses and grazing management in temperate biodiverse pasture systems was sponsored by the American Society of Animal Science at the annual meetings of the Society in July 2007. The resulting papers appear in this Special Feature of Rangeland Ecology and Management. While increased plant species diversity has been linked to improvements in ecosystem function through improved primary productivity, the effects of increased diversity on secondary productivity have not been well explored. There is also a renewed interest in grazing management, as livestock feeding operations currently compete for grain with the energy and food sector. Livestock producers have a growing interest in finding low-cost and renewable production methods, such as grazing, that reduce the need for high-cost energy and chemical inputs. There is a simultaneous need to boost farm income through capturing high-value markets and premium prices. Consumers in the developed world increasingly demand products that are produced by environmentally friendly production methods. The papers in this special feature address the current state of knowledge regarding livestock responses to plant species diversity, and stimulate the reader with new ideas aimed at better understanding this complex system and creating novel and innovative management approaches that promote and capitalize on biodiversity in temperate pasture systems.

Last Modified: 10/24/2014
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