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ARS Home » Plains Area » Temple, Texas » Grassland Soil and Water Research Laboratory » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #413386

Research Project: Enhancing Cropping System and Grassland Sustainability in the Texas Gulf Coast Region by Managing Systems for Productivity and Resilience

Location: Grassland Soil and Water Research Laboratory

Title: The LTAR-integrated grazing land common experiment at the Texas Gulf

Author
item Schantz, Merilynn
item Smith, Douglas
item Harmel, Daren
item GOODWIN, DOUGLAS - TEXAS A&M UNIVERSITY
item TOLLESON, DOUG - TEXAS A&M UNIVERSITY
item OSORIO LEYTON, JAVIER - TEXAS AGRILIFE RESEARCH
item Flynn, Kyle
item Krecker-Yost, Jenifer
item Thorp, Kelly
item Arnold, Jeffrey
item White, Michael
item Adhikari, Kabindra
item Hajda, Chad

Submitted to: Journal of Environmental Quality
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 4/19/2024
Publication Date: 5/26/2024
Citation: Schantz, M.C., Smith, D.R., Harmel, R.D., Goodwin, D.J., Tolleson, D.R., Osorio Leyton, J.M., Flynn, K.C., Yost, J.L., Thorp, K.R., Arnold, J.G., White, M.J., Adhikari, K., Hajda, C.B. 2024. The LTAR-integrated grazing land common experiment at the Texas Gulf. Journal of Environmental Quality. 2024:1-12. doi:10.1002/jeq2.20573.
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1002/jeq2.20573

Interpretive Summary: Although the Great Plains have experienced a long history of regular disturbances from drought and floods, grazing, and fires, the increased frequency and magnitude of these disturbances can reduce ecological resilience, largely depending on management practices. Alternative grazing land management strategies designed to adaptively manage grazing land resources based on the ecology of the system should increase the resistance and resilience to disturbances when compared to prevailing practices. Determining the ecologic and economic value of alternative strategies will require long-term evaluations across large spatial scales. The purpose of this paper is to outline the Long-Term Agroecosystem Texas Gulf integrated grazing study that compared alternative vs. prevailing management practices across decadal time scales.

Technical Abstract: Extreme weather and climate events have become more frequent and directly affect the ecological structure and function of integrated grazing lands. While the Great Plains have experienced a long history of regular disturbances from drought and floods, grazing, and fires, the increased frequency and magnitude of these disturbances can reduce ecological resilience, largely depending on management practices. Alternative strategies designed to adaptively manage grazing land resources based on the ecology of the system should increase the resistance and resilience to disturbances when compared to prevailing practices. Determining the ecologic and economic value of alternative strategies will require long-term evaluations across large spatial scales. The Long-Term Agroecosystem Research (LTAR) network has been established to evaluate the differences between alternative and prevailing practices among 18 strategically located sites and across decadal time scales throughout the continental US. A key integrated grazing land site within this network is the Texas Gulf located at the Riesel Watersheds in the Blackland Prairie of Central Texas. At this study site, the differences between alternative and prevailing grazing management strategies are now being evaluated. The alternative strategy was designed using a combination of knowledge of the site and species ecology with modern-day tools and technologies. Alternatively, the prevailing practice implements a conventional year-round continuous grazing system with heavy reliance on hay and supplemental protein during winter. Results will provide grazing land managers with economically viable adaptive management choices for increasing ecological resilience following extreme and frequent disturbance events.