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Title: Assessment of Prescribed Grazing as a Conservation Practice

item Briske, David
item Derner, Justin
item Milchunas, Daniel
item Tate, Kenneth

Submitted to: Society for Range Management Meeting Abstracts
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 9/6/2008
Publication Date: 3/18/2009
Citation: Briske, D.D., Derner, J.D., Milchunas, D.G., Tate, K.W. 2009. Assessment of Prescribed Grazing as a Conservation Practice. Society for Range Management Meeting Abstracts No. 11-2.

Interpretive Summary:

Technical Abstract: The purported benefits of prescribed grazing were excerpted from the USDA-NRCS National Conservation Practice Guidelines and experimental data associated with these practices were identified in peer-reviewed literature to provide an evidenced-based assessment of ecological consequences. Effects of stocking rate, grazing system, season of grazing and deferment, and livestock species were evaluated for their impacts on plants, livestock, wildlife, soil, and water. The influence of stocking rate on plant and animal production and, to a lesser extent, herbaceous community composition were strongly supported by the available data, but the benefits of grazing systems were not based on the variables of vegetation and livestock production, and community composition. Similarly, many wildlife species respond to grazing intensity, season of grazing, and deferment of grazing, but they generally do not differ in response to grazing system. Stocking rate is negatively correlated with soil surface vegetative cover and infiltration capacity. Grazing system has not been linked to increased soil infiltration capacity at moderate to high stocking rates. This assessment indicates that prescribed grazing recommendations should emphasize fundamental grazing management decisions (i.e., stocking rate, grazing season, drought management) to a greater extent than grazing systems.