Submitted to: International Rangeland Congress
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: 2/28/2011
Publication Date: 4/2/2011
Citation: Anderson, D.M. 2011. Tools to study and manage grazing behavior at multiple scales to enhance the sustainability of livestock. In Proceedings IX International Rangeland Congress. April 2-8, 2011, Rosario, Argentina. p. 559-564. Interpretive Summary:
Technical Abstract: Free-ranging animal behavior is a multifaceted and complex phenomenon within rangeland ecology that must be understood and ultimately managed. Improving behavioral studies requires tools appropriate for use at the landscape scale. Though tools alone do not assure research will generate accurate information that positively impacts society, complex ecological questions can only be answered using suitable tools and teams with skills capable of producing useful results. This paper looks at some of the tools (past, current and future) to measure and manage free-ranging animal behavior. Before employing a tool, researchers must answer several questions related to their proposed experimental protocol. How will the tools I use influence the phenomena I am attempting to understand and manage? If the tools I choose are worn by free-ranging animals, are they designed to provide relevant data, yet minimally affect the animal’s well-being? Lastly, in order to realize the greatest potential return from using a particular tool or tools are the economic resources and personnel in place for an effective team? These questions are necessary not only for the recent graduate, but also the seasoned scientist to consider. The perfect tool for studying the spatial location and activity of an animal on a complex landscape does not currently exist. However, it seems reasonable that the greatest hope for improving our understanding and subsequent management of free-ranging animal behavior lies in melding the appropriate available tools with the capability of the human mind to reason.