Submitted to: Society for Range Management Meeting Abstracts
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: September 1, 2010
Publication Date: N/A
Technical Abstract: Many rangelands have traditionally been managed to optimize livestock production through the use of sustainable stocking rates. One of the seminal research papers on this subject was published by Robert (Bob) Bement in the Journal of Range Management in 1969 (volume 22, pages 83-86). This paper, entitled “A stocking-rate guide for beef production on blue-grama range” demonstrated the relationship of both livestock daily gains per head and gains per unit land area to stocking rate in shortgrass steppe of Colorado, USA. High daily gains per head and low gains per unit land area occurred with low stocking rates; conversely, low daily gains per head and high gains per unit land area occurred with high stocking rates. Optimum livestock production was observed at the intersection of these two response curves, at a moderate stocking rate. Findings from this paper had a profound impact on the sustainable management of rangelands for livestock production across North America. Contemporary management of these rangelands, however, emphasizes enhancing multiple ecosystem services from these lands. Tradeoffs associated with changing management from traditional approaches emphasizing livestock production to managing for multiple ecosystem services remain a research and information gap. For example, what are the ramifications to livestock producers in terms of animal gains associated with changing management to emphasize multiple ecosystem services? If management for multiple ecosystem services results in lowered animal gains, what is the value of this loss of gain that can be compensated to land managers in terms of incentives to modify management?