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ARS Home » Pacific West Area » Burns, Oregon » Range and Meadow Forage Management Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #345697

Research Project: Restoring and Managing Great Basin Ecosystems

Location: Range and Meadow Forage Management Research

Title: Upland bare ground and riparian vegetative cover under strategic grazing management, continuous stocking, and multiyear rest in New Mexico mid-grass prairie

Author
item DANVIR, RICK - Western Landowners Alliance
item SIMONDS, GREGG - Open Range Consulting
item SANT, ERIC - Open Range Consulting
item THACKER, ERIC - Utah State University
item LARSON, RANDY - Brigham Young University
item SVEJCAR, TONY - Oregon State University
item RAMSAY, DOUGLAS - Utah State University
item PROVENZA, FRED - Utah State University
item Boyd, Chad

Submitted to: Rangelands
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 1/1/2018
Publication Date: 2/1/2018
Citation: Danvir, R., Simonds, G., Sant, E., Thacker, E., Larson, R., Svejcar, T., Ramsay, D., Provenza, F., Boyd, C.S. 2018. Upland bare ground and riparian vegetative cover under strategic grazing management, continuous stocking, and multiyear rest in New Mexico mid-grass prairie. Rangelands. 40(1):1-8. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.rala.2017.12.004.
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.rala.2017.12.004

Interpretive Summary: Use of intensive grazing management (IGM; i.e., time-controlled rotational grazing) is thought to increase desired plant cover attributes relative to extensive grazing management (EGM; i.e., continuous or season-long stocking), however, there are very few published tests of these relationships at large spatial or temporal scales. We used innovative remote sensing technology to quantitatively determine whether IGM ranches have less bare ground in uplands and more riparian vegetation than neighboring EGM lands. We found that IGM pastures had less bare ground and higher cover of riparian vegetation than EGM pastures and that these differences were greatest in drought years. This study demonstrates that IGM strategies can benefit key attributes of pasture health and illustrates an effective method for quantifying range condition attributes at large spatial scales using remote sensing technology.

Technical Abstract: We compared land cover attributes (upland bare ground, riparian cover) on four intensive grazing-managed ranches (IGM) with adjacent, extensive grazing-managed (EGM, continuously or seasonally stocked) pastures using Earth Sense remote sensing technology. IGM pastures had less upland bare ground and more riparian vegetative cover than adjoining, EGM pastures. IGM pastures had bare ground cover comparable to pastures rested from grazing for three or more years. Differences in riparian cover between management types was greatest in years of near-average precipitation, and less in years of high precipitation or drought. This study illustrates an effective means of quantifying range condition and management effectiveness on large landscapes with variable precipitation.