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The Rangeland Journal Abstracts

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The following abstracts are from the latest issues of The Rangeland Journal.

The Rangeland Journal Vol. 41 (3) - July 2019  Special Issue

INTRODUCTION

Rangelands in transition

Russ SinclairA,C, and Martin AndrewB,C

- Author Affiliations

ASchool of Biological Sciences, University of Adelaide, SA 5005, Australia.

BMartin Andrew Solutions, 132 Kensington Road, Toorak Gardens, SA 5065, Australia.

CCorresponding authors. Email: russell.sinclair@adelaide.edu.au; mcandrew@myaccess.com.au

The Rangeland Journal 41(3) 161–163  https://doi.org/10.1071/RJ19050
Submitted: 7 July 2019  Accepted: 8 July 2019   Published: 23 July 2019

 

RESEARCH ARTICLE

Value of seasonal climate forecasts in reducing economic losses for grazing enterprises: Charters Towers case study

Duc-Anh An-VoA,B,C, Kate Reardon-SmithA,C,D, Shahbaz MushtaqA,C, David CobonA,C,

Shreevatsa KodurC and Roger StoneA,C

- Author Affiliations

AUniversity of Southern Queensland, Centre for Applied Climate Sciences, Darling Heights, Toowoomba, Qld 4350, Australia.

BUniversity of Southern Queensland, Institute for Advanced Engineering and Space Sciences, Toowoomba, Qld 4350, Australia.

CUniversity of Southern Queensland, Institute for Life Sciences and the Environment, Toowoomba, Qld 4350, Australia.

DCorresponding author. Email: kathryn.reardon-smith@usq.edu.au

The Rangeland Journal 41(3) 165–175 https://doi.org/10.1071/RJ18004
Submitted: 23 January 2018  Accepted: 29 May 2019   Published: 11 July 2019

Abstract

Seasonal climate forecasts (SCFs) have the potential to improve productivity and profitability in agricultural industries, but are often underutilised due to insufficient evidence of the economic value of forecasts and uncertainty about their reliability. In this study we developed a bio-economic model of forecast use, explicitly incorporating forecast uncertainty. Using agricultural systems (ag-systems) production simulation software calibrated with case study information, we simulated pasture growth, herd dynamics and annual economic returns under different climatic conditions. We then employed a regret and value function approach to quantify the potential economic value of using SCFs (at both current and improved accuracy levels) in decision making for a grazing enterprise in north-eastern Queensland, Australia – a region subject to significant seasonal and intra-decadal climate variability. Applying an expected utility economic modelling approach, we show that skilled SCF systems can contribute considerable value to farm level decision making. At the current SCF skill of 62% (derived by correlating the El Niño Southern Oscillation (ENSO) signal and historical climate data) at Charters Towers, an average annual forecast value of AU$4420 (4.25%) was realised for the case study average annual net profit of AU$104000, while a perfect (no regret) forecast system could result in an increased return of AU$13475 per annum (13% of the case study average annual net profit). Continued improvements in the skill and reliability of SCFs is likely to both increase the value of SCFs to agriculture and drive wider uptake of climate forecasts in on-farm decision making. We also anticipate that an integrated framework, such as that developed in this study, may provide a pathway for better communication with end users to support improved understanding and use of forecasts in agricultural decision making and enhanced sustainability of agricultural enterprises.

Additional keywords: economic value, grazing management, productivity, profitability, seasonal climate forecast, uncertainty.

 

Social return on investment: application for an Indigenous rangelands context

Leah FeuerherdtA, Stuart PeevorB, Michael ClinchC and Tim MooreA,D

- Author Affiliations

ANatural Resources Alinytjara Wilurara, Department of Environment, Water and Natural Resources, 81 Waymouth St, Adelaide, SA 5000, Australia.

BEIB Consulting, 13 Kalyan Road, Glandore, SA 5037, Australia.

CAnangu Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara (APY) Pastoral, PMB 227 Umuwa via Alice Springs, NT 0872, Australia.

DAustralian Integrated Carbon, Level 15/ 25 Bligh St, Sydney, NSW 2000, Australia.

ECorresponding author. Email: leah.feuerherdt2@sa.gov.au

The Rangeland Journal 41(3) 177-183 https://doi.org/10.1071/RJ18017
Submitted: 19 February 2018  Accepted: 28 August 2018  Published: 1 November 2018

Abstract

Social Return on Investment (SROI) is an internationally recognised methodology used to measure and value the economic impact of program outcomes. Like a traditional cost-benefit analysis, SROI examines economic outcomes, but also includes the social, environmental and cultural outcomes created by the investment. These outcomes are evaluated against their cost, using financial proxies to estimate their relative economic worth. SROI is particularly valuable in the indigenous natural resource management context, because of the strong ‘value’ or importance of non-economic (particularly cultural) costs and benefits.

The Alinytjara Wilurara Natural Resources Management Board undertook a study of the economic, social, environmental and cultural impacts and benefits of the presence of large feral herbivores in the Anangu Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara (APY) Lands, in the far north-west of South Australia. Camels, donkeys and horses present significant impacts for the community in terms of vehicle collisions, community health, damage to infrastructure and water pollution, as well as impacts on sites of cultural and spiritual significance to the local communities. With the annual cost impacts incurred by society caused by large feral herbivores in the APY lands valued at $4.2 million and possible dollar value of those animals valued at $140 000, the study found that there was a net cost impact of ~$4 million from not managing the impact of these animals. The study also found significant cultural impacts of large feral herbivores, such as the fouling of natural springs and other culturally sensitive sites, and further analysis would be required to determine the economic cost of these impacts. Investment models that consider a broad range of costs and benefits are considered necessary for Australian rangelands, particularly Indigenous-owned land.

This paper presents a case study of the development of a ranger program that employs local community members to manage the impacts of large feral herbivores that will provide a net benefit to society of ~$3 million every year, aside from the additional benefits of employment and economic participation. The $3-million net benefit accrues from saving human lives and costs associated with vehicle accidents, and reduced management costs and increased income for pastoral areas of the APY Lands. APY community members, and the APY Pastoral business are core beneficiaries; however, there are several external beneficiaries that this SROI approach recognises including the Motor Accident Commission, Health Departments and South Australian Police. The strongly positive SROI in this case presents an excellent co-investment opportunity for agencies whose core focus is on road safety and health. Importantly, the SROI approach to creation of social value can be implemented in a way that is consistent with stated community aspirations for development.

Additional keywords: feral animals, greenhouse gas, pastoralism.

 

Ninety years of change on the TGB Osborn Vegetation Reserve, Koonamore: a unique research opportunity

R. SinclairA,B and Jose M. FacelliA

- Author Affiliations

ASchool of Biological Sciences, The University of Adelaide, Adelaide, SA 5005, Australia.

BCorresponding author. Email: russell.sinclair@adelaide.edu.au

The Rangeland Journal 41(3) 185–187 https://doi.org/10.1071/RJ18022
Submitted: 26 February 2018  Accepted: 25 August 2018  Published: 31 October 2018

Abstract

The TGB Osborn Vegetation Reserve, on Koonamore station in the NE pastoral area of South Australia, is the longest-running vegetation monitoring project of its type in Australia. In 1925, a 4-km2 rectangle in a heavily overgrazed area was fenced to exclude rabbits and sheep, and permanent quadrats and photo-points set up to record changes. The area is predominantly chenopod shrubland, with an open woodland tree layer. After the initial elimination of rabbits, control slackened and rabbit numbers increased until the 1970s, when intense elimination efforts resumed, together with the arrival of myxomatosis and rabbit haemorrhagic disease viruses. Consequently, the reserve has had 50 years without sheep, followed by 40 years virtually without either sheep or rabbits. Changes over that time have been very striking, and they have been recorded regularly via mapped quadrats and photopoints.

The objective of this paper is to highlight opportunities for making use of this database for researching several interesting ecological questions.

Additional keywords: grazing pressure, long-term monitoring, rabbits, sheep.

 

An uncertain future: climate resilience of first-generation ranchers

Kate Munden-DixonA,D, Kenneth TateB, Bethany CuttsC and Leslie RocheB

- Author Affiliations

AGeography Graduate Group, University of California Davis, Davis, CA 95616, USA.

BDepartment of Plant Sciences, University of California Davis, Davis, CA 95616, USA.

CDepartment of Parks, Recreation and Tourism Management, North Carolina State University, Raleigh, NC 27695, USA.

DCorresponding author. Email: kmundendixon@ucdavis.edu

The Rangeland Journal 41(3) 189–196 https://doi.org/10.1071/RJ18023
Submitted: 1 March 2018  Accepted: 11 August 2018  Published: 10 September 2018

Abstract

Policymakers and scholars agree that the aging and declining number of ranchers is a serious problem for the future of ranching and range management. Studies show that recruiting and retaining new ranchers is difficult due to a complex mix of start-up costs, knowledge and skill requirements, and regulatory barriers. While research suggests that first-generation farmers are different demographically and require individualised information, there is limited research on first-generation ranchers (FGRs); at best they are generalised as beginning farmers in research and outreach programs. This is surprising given ranchers’ unique knowledge requirements relating to the production of food and fibre, and the management of vast areas of public and private land. Based on a rangeland decision-making survey of 507 California Cattlemen’s Association members, this paper examines similarities and divergences in socioeconomic factors, management practices, drought adaptation strategies, information needs, and values between FGRs and multigenerational ranchers (MGRs). Survey results indicate FGRs and MGRs are not statistically different demographically and have similar values; however, key differences include FGRs using fewer information sources about ranching, fewer general management practices, and fewer drought adaptation practices. FGRs are also more susceptible to drought, and are underserved by organisations. Their vulnerability is particularly concerning, as many have limited drought experience, are more likely to take risks, and are less likely to find value and/or participate in ranching organisations. The future of rangelands requires that organisations interested in conserving rangelands and supporting ranchers re-evaluate assumptions about why FGRs and MGRs have different information needs beyond simplistic demographic identity, and instead focus on their affinity as FGRs in order to understand the complexity of the processes underlying these differences. We end with suggestions for a research agenda to support the climate resiliency of FGRs and increase the efficacy of support organisations.

Additional keywords: climate change and adaptation, resilience of rangeland systems, socioecological systems, rangeland management.

 

‘This country just hangs tight’: perspectives on managing land degradation and climate change in far west NSW

 Emily BerryA,D, Graciela MetternichtB and Alex BaumberC

 - Author Affiliations

ASchool of Biological, Earth and Environmental Sciences, UNSW Sydney, NSW 2052, Australia.

BSchool of Biological, Earth and Environmental Sciences, PANGEA Centre, UNSW Sydney, NSW 2052, Australia.

CFaculty of Transdisciplinary Innovation, University of Technology Sydney, NSW 2007, Australia.

DCorresponding author. Email: emilyberry1@gmail.com

The Rangeland Journal 41(3) 197–210 https://doi.org/10.1071/RJ18030
Submitted: 12 March 2018  Accepted: 8 October 2018  Published: 27 November 2018

Abstract

Discussions of land degradation often display a disconnect between global and local scales. Although global-scale discussions often focus on measuring and reversing land degradation through metrics and policy measures, local-scale discussions can highlight a diversity of viewpoints and the importance of local knowledge and context-specific strategies for sustainable land management. Similarly, although scientific studies clearly link anthropogenic climate change to land degradation as both cause and consequence, the connection may not be so clear for local rangelands communities due to the complex temporal and spatial scales of change and management in such environments.

In research conducted in October 2015, we interviewed 18 stakeholders in the far west of New South Wales about their perspectives on sustainable land management. The results revealed highly variable views on what constitutes land degradation, its causes and appropriate responses. For the pastoral land managers, the most important sign of good land management was the maintenance of groundcover, through the management of total grazing pressure. Participants viewed overgrazing as a contributor to land degradation in some cases and they identified episodes of land degradation in the region. However, other more contentious factors were also highlighted, such as wind erosion, grazing by goats and kangaroos and the spread of undesired ‘invasive native scrub’ at the expense of more desirable pasture, and alternative views that these can offer productive benefits.

Although few participants were concerned about anthropogenic climate change, many described their rangeland management styles as adaptive to the fluctuations of the climate, regardless of the reasons for these variations. Rather than focusing on whether landholders ‘believe in’ climate change or agree on common definitions or measurement approaches for land degradation, these results suggest that their culture of adaptation may provide a strong basis for coping with an uncertain future. The culture of adaption developed through managing land in a highly variable climate may help even if the specific conditions that landholders need to adapt to are unlike those experienced in living memory. Such an approach requires scientific and expert knowledge to be integrated alongside the context-specific knowledge, values and existing management strategies of local stakeholders.

Additional keywords: adaptation, climate change and adaptation, environmental change, social-ecological systems, rangeland management.

 

Evaluating the potential financial contributions of carbon farming to grazing enterprises in Western NSW

Geoff CockfieldA,B,D, Uttam ShresthaA and Cathy WatersC

- Author Affiliations

ACentre for Sustainable Agricultural Systems, University of Southern Queensland, Toowoomba, Qld 4350, Australia.

BSchool of Commerce, University of Southern Queensland, Toowoomba, Qld 4350, Australia.

CClimate Research, NSW Department of Primary Industries, Orange, NSW 2800, Australia.

DCorresponding author. Email: Geoff.Cockfield@usq.edu.au

The Rangeland Journal 41(3) 211–223 https://doi.org/10.1071/RJ18032
Submitted: 16 March 2018  Accepted: 19 February 2019  Published: 5 April 2019

Abstract

This article reports on modelling of the farm-level financial implications of changing land use from rangelands grazing to ‘carbon farming’ (vegetation-based carbon sequestration) in north-western New South Wales, Australia. Four model farm businesses were created by combining information from existing carbon projects funded under the Australian Government’s Emissions Reduction Fund (ERF), data from surveys of farm businesses in the study regions and biomass estimations from the pasture growth model, GRASP. Scenarios for each of the businesses were: baseline (current grazing system); clearing vegetation to increase carrying capacity; establishing a carbon project; and establishing a carbon project and reinvesting some of the additional income in exclusion fencing to increase carrying capacity on non-project areas. The carbon project scenarios were based on either of two approved carbon sequestration methodologies within the ERF: avoided deforestation; and human-induced regeneration. In comparing the financial outcomes of these scenarios across the modelled businesses, we found potential advantages for landholders in having projects where livestock carrying capacity was at medium to low levels for the study region and where woody vegetation biomass potential was medium to high for the region. The case for sequestration projects on land with higher carrying capacity and therefore higher opportunity cost was much less compelling. In most cases, reinvestment in exclusion fencing resulted in similar financial returns to just having a carbon project but farm business income increased in later years.

Additional keywords: exclusion fencing, farm business income, greenhouse gas emissions, livestock production, payments for environmental services.

 

Long Paddock: climate risk and grazing information for Australian rangelands and grazing communities

G. StoneA,B, R. Dalla PozzaA, J. CarterA and G. McKeonA

- Author Affiliations

AQueensland Government, Environment and Science, GPO Box 2454, Brisbane, Qld 4001, Australia.

BCorresponding author. Email: Grant.Stone@qld.gov.au

The Rangeland Journal 41(3) 225–232 https://doi.org/10.1071/RJ18036
Submitted: 22 March 2018  Accepted: 23 January 2019   Published: 7 March 2019

Abstract

The Queensland Government’s Long Paddock website has been redeveloped on Amazon Web Services cloud computing platform, to provide Australian rangelands and grazing communities (i.e. rural landholders, managers, pastoralists (graziers), researchers, advisors, students, consultants and extension providers) with easier access to seasonal climate and pasture condition information. The website provides free, tailored information and services to support management decisions to maximise productivity, while maintaining the natural resource base. For example, historical rainfall and pasture analyses (i.e. maps, posters and data) have been developed to assist in communicating the risk of multi-year droughts that are a feature of Queensland’s highly variable climate.

Additional keywords: carrying capacity, climate, decision support tools, extension, grazing.

 

Looking beyond the D.U.S.T. – building resilient rangeland communities

Dana KellyA,C and David PhelpsB

- Author Affiliations

ADana Kelly Consulting, PO Box 4868, Toowoomba East, Qld 4350, Australia.

BChair Western Queensland Drought Committee (WQDC), PO Box 496, Longreach, Qld 4730, Australia.

CCorresponding author. Email: d.kelly@uq.edu.au

The Rangeland Journal 41(3) 233–250 https://doi.org/10.1071/RJ18047
Submitted: 21 April 2018  Accepted: 1 February 2019   Published: 26 April 2019

Abstract

The role of towns and small business is poorly understood, yet towns are vital for the long-term viability of communities in rural and remote Australia.

This case study in the central western region of Queensland (CWQ) examines the impacts of drought on rural towns and how to build a resilient regional community and alleviate hardship. Evidence was collected during drought from town businesses through surveys, interviews and a public meeting in 2017.

Towns in CWQ are especially exposed to the risks of drought, as approximately half of the businesses are directly linked to agriculture. Townspeople are major contributors to social cohesion and resilience in rural and regional communities, which are often service and maintenance centres of nationally important infrastructure such as roads for inter-state freight transport and tourism. Drought and declining grazier incomes have led to reduced spending in towns. Populations have dropped sharply, as itinerant agricultural workers leave the region. The complex economic and social flow-on impacts of drought have resulted in lower socioeconomic resilience. The majority of community members interviewed expressed a desire to build secure livelihoods, which echoes other research where existing and new rangelands livelihoods are seen as contributing to the success of the nation, a common global desire. Local organisations in CWQ display innovative business and community strategies. Future actions need to support and build on these initiatives.

A framework with the acronym D.U.S.T. has been developed, with associated actions aimed at building resilience in these communities. D.U.S.T. is appropriate for this often-dusty region, and stands for: D. Decide to act; U. Understand the context; S. Support and develop local capacities and institutions; and T. Transform regional governance.

The key for decision-makers is to work with local people who understand the contextual complexity and local needs. Actions need to be based on principles of adaptability, equity and inclusiveness, and working with the whole of the community. Building on existing collaborations and innovations as well as transforming governance and secure funding arrangements are needed. Lessons from the communities in CWQ may help other rural and remote regions build resilience to cope with the unpredictable financial, social and environmental future.

Additional keywords: drought, collaboration, engaged governance, rural towns, transformation.

 

Overcoming drought vulnerability in rangeland communities: lessons from central-western Queensland

David PhelpsA,C and Dana KellyB

- Author Affiliations

ADepartment of Agriculture and Fisheries, Longreach, Qld 4730, Australia.

BDana Kelly Consulting, PO Box 4868, Toowoomba East, Qld 4350, Australia.

CCorresponding author. Email: david.phelps@daf.qld.gov.au

The Rangeland Journal 41(3) 251–270 https://doi.org/10.1071/RJ18052
Submitted: 1 May 2018  Accepted: 8 June 2019   Published: 23 July 2019

Abstract

Drought and climate variability are an increasing global problem, especially in rangelands which may lack robust socioeconomic systems. Vulnerability is being applied in drought and climate change policy theory, by describing exposure and sensitivity factors, and adaptive capacity. In this paper we examine these vulnerability factors in central-western Queensland (CWQ), Australia, as a case study to test the idea that vulnerability and resilience must be considered together to build strong and enduring rangeland communities. The region’s economy and employment are strongly coupled with rain-fed agriculture. Drought is a key risk to CWQ communities, with 13 extended droughts recorded since 1898. The region has been officially in drought since 2013 following well below-average rainfall, and remains in drought in 2019. The impact has led to reductions in town business turnover of 30–60%, loss of livelihoods and outmigration of 20%. Outmigration corresponds to the recent periods of drought. Social networks have been destabilised, highlighting that the cascading impacts of drought are complex, interrelated and affect the whole community. Regionally led responses have helped to re-build social cohesion, provide mental health support and stimulate economic activity and employment. These actions provide examples of a systemic, whole-of-community approach, that (1) captures place-based advantages; (2) enhances internal and external socioeconomic networks; (3) engages meaningfully through multi-level consultation; and (4) seeks to build sustained financial investment. A common theme of success is partnerships which provide external support for regionally-identified issues and solutions. There has been considerable investment of public, philanthropic and private funds in drought relief and infrastructure programs. This has occurred through a whole-of-community approach, and suggests a move towards policy which aims to build long-term regional resilience. CWQ has linked vulnerability and resilience by asking of both internally and externally led drought relief ‘will this action build or undermine community resilience’. This approach could also be applied to the design of drought policies and responses in other rangeland regions.

Additional keywords: adaptation, pastoralist, resilience, regional policy, rural communities, small business.

 

Australian rangeland futures: time now for systemic responses to interconnected challenges

Barney ForanA,H, Mark Stafford SmithB, Don BurnsideC, Martin AndrewD, Don BlesingE, Kate ForrestF and John TaylorG

- Author Affiliations

AInstitute of Land Water and Society, Charles Sturt University, PO Box 789, Albury, NSW 2640, Australia.

BCSIRO Land and Water, PO Box 1700, Canberra, ACT 2601, Australia.

CD.G. Burnside & Associates, 29 Woodsome Street, Mount Lawley, WA 6050, Australia.

DMartin Andrew Solutions, 132 Kensington Road, Toorak Gardens, SA 5065, Australia.

EAgri-Vision Advisory, PO Box 149, Kent Town, SA 5067, Australia.

FRangeland NRM Alliance, 92 Galah St, Longreach, Qld 4730, Australia.

GRangelands Australia, 37 Pioneer Crescent, Bellbowrie, Qld 4070, Australia.

HCorresponding author. Email: bforan@csu.edu.au

The Rangeland Journal 41(3) 271–292 https://doi.org/10.1071/RJ18105
Submitted: 12 November 2018  Accepted: 19 June 2019   Published: 19 July 2019

Abstract

Australia’s rangelands contain wildlands, relatively intact biodiversity, widespread Indigenous cultures, pastoral and mining industries all set in past and present events and mythologies. The nature of risks and threats to these rangelands is increasingly global and systemic. Future policy frameworks must acknowledge this and act accordingly. We collate current key information on land tenures and land uses, people and domestic livestock in Australian rangelands, and discuss five perspectives on how the rangelands are changing that should inform the development of integrated policy: climate and environmental change, the southern rangelands, the northern rangelands, Indigenous Australia, and governance and management. From these perspectives we argue that more attention must be paid to: ensuring a social licence to operate across a range of uses, acknowledging and supporting a younger more Indigenous population, implementing positive aspects of technological innovation, halting capital and governance leakages, and building human capacity. A recommended set of systemic responses should therefore (i) address governance issues consistently and comprehensively, (ii) ensure that new technologies can foster the delivery of sustainable livelihoods, and (iii) focus capacity building on a community of industries where knowledge is built for the long-term, and do all three of these with an eye to the changing demographics of the rangelands.

Additional keywords: governance, human capacity, Indigenous, livelihoods, remoteness, sustainability.

 

 

The Rangeland Journal Vol. 41 (2) - May 2019

RESEARCH ARTICLE

Impact of agrarian practices and some pastoral uses on vegetation in Algerian steppe rangelands

R. F. Hammouda A , J. Huguenin B C , L. Julien B and D. Nedjraoui A

- Author Affiliations

A Laboratory of Plant Ecology and Environment (LEVE), Faculty of Biological Sciences, University of Sciences and Technology Houari Boumediene, BP 32 El Alia, Bab Ezzouar, Algiers 1611, Algeria.

B CIRAD, UMR SELMET, F-34398 Montpellier, France. SELMET, Univ Montpellier, CIRAD, INRA, Montpellier SupAgro, Montpellier, France.

C Corresponding author. Email: johann.huguenin@cirad.fr

The Rangeland Journal 41(2) 97-107 https://doi.org/10.1071/RJ18081
Submitted: 3 August 2018  Accepted: 8 April 2019   Published: 8 May 2019

Abstract

The decline in steppe vegetation in Algeria was first reported in the mid-20th century, and for many years was attributed to recurrent droughts. Hypotheses suggesting that this decline was a consequence of human activities emerged in the 1970s – a time of major socioeconomic trends in the region. Changes such as strong population growth, sedentarisation, herd size increases and use of pasture land for crops, all had considerable impact on rangeland vegetation. The aim of the present work was to identify heterogeneity in the pasture vegetation of a given ‘territory’ (in the sense of a ‘terroir’), or biophysical environment (including meteorological), taking into account rangeland distribution, land use changes and herd management in the Aflou region of Algeria. Characterisation and mapping of the vegetation and its environment in the study area led to the hypothesis that, apart from some very slight soil differences, heterogeneity in rangeland vegetation appeared mainly related to human impacts. Bertin’s Semiology of Graphics was used to analyse the results, and indicated a major decline in vegetation productivity and biodiversity in the steppe rangelands of the study zone. Beyond this general trend in the municipal territory studied, areas were found with contrasting flora communities, with some showing relatively stable plant communities, while other areas had some plant communities that had undergone regressive succession. Grazing conditions and the proximity of ploughed land were responsible for these different vegetation situations.

Additional keywords: drylands, grazing pressure, herd management, land access, pastoral map, regressive succession, vegetation dynamics, vegetation map.

 

REVIEW

Landscape research in Ethiopia: misunderstood or lost synergy?

Zbelo Tesfamariam A B F , Jan Nyssen A , Jean Poesen E , Tesfaalem Ghebreyohannes B , Kelemework Tafere C , Amanuel Zenebe D , Seppe Deckers E and Veerle Van Eetvelde A

+ Author Affiliations

The Rangeland Journal 41(2) 109-124 https://doi.org/10.1071/RJ18060
Submitted: 14 May 2018  Accepted: 18 January 2019   Published: 21 March 2019

Abstract

A full understanding of the concept of landscape plays a paramount role in sustainable management of natural resources and an increase of landscape studies. However, little is known about the concept of landscape, landscape research and its application in Ethiopia. Hence, the overall objective of this paper is to explore the concept of landscape and review available literatures on landscape research in Ethiopia and to identify research gaps. A questionnaire (n = 30) was administered to explore the concept of landscape. A systematic review of available studies on landscape and related concepts has also been made. Out of the 398 papers in which the terms ‘landscape’ and ‘Ethiopia’ appeared in the title, keywords or abstract, 26 papers, having 10 or more keywords related to landscape research were included in this in-depth review. An exploratory study of art and media has been made to examine the perception of artists on landscapes. The results of the study show that the perception of Ethiopian artists on landscape is highly associated with concept of the landscape.

The findings of the survey also reveal that the meaning of the term landscape differs semantically. The findings of the review also indicate that landscape studies carried out in Ethiopia do not fully cover the holistic concept of landscape; as they mostly focus more on physical features of the landscape. Moreover, the interdisciplinary approach that integrates landscape ecology, perception and history, which is important for understanding landscapes and landscape changes, is also lacking. Generally, the concept of landscape seems to be misconceived in most studies undertaken in Ethiopia, mainly because it is interchangeably used with land use and land cover. Hence, there is a need for a better understanding of the concept of landscape and the applications of a holistic landscape approach.

Additional keywords: Amharic language, holistic, land cover, land use, perception, Tigrigna language.

 

RESEARCH ARTICLES

Hoof pressure and trampling intensity of yaks are higher than those of Tibetan sheep in a Tianzhu alpine meadow

Hailei Yang A C , Jinjin Sun A C , Changlin Xu A , Jianwen Zhang A , Jinlong Chai A , Ting Jiao A and Xiaojun Yu A B

+ Author Affiliations

The Rangeland Journal 41(2) 125-133 https://doi.org/10.1071/RJ18073
Submitted: 26 July 2018  Accepted: 18 February 2019   Published: 2 April 2019

Abstract

Trampling by grazing animals exerts a comprehensive and serious effect on grassland vegetation and soil. In order to compare the trampling of yaks and Tibetan sheep under different grazing intensities, we examined the hoof pressure and trampling intensity (based on trampling area and hoof-print count) of white yaks (Poephagus grunniens) and Tibetan sheep (Ovis ammon) in an alpine meadow of Tianzhu County, Gansu Province, China, under conditions where either grazing area or livestock number were controlled. The average areas trampled by yaks and Tibetan sheep were 39.2 and 21.6 cm2 respectively. The average hoof pressure of yaks and Tibetan sheep were 6.89 and 3.13 kg cm–2 respectively. The yak-to-sheep ratio of the average area trampled was 1.81 : 1, whereas the yak-to-sheep ratio of average hoof pressure was 2.20 : 1. Average ingestion and walking trampling intensities of yaks were 384.8 × 103 and 247.1 × 103 kg cm–2, respectively, in controlled grazing areas, and 439.1 × 103 and 756.3 × 103 kg cm–2, respectively, in areas of controlled livestock numbers. These values for Tibetan sheep were 15.3 × 103 and 120.3 × 103 kg cm–2 in controlled grazing areas, and 42.6 × 103 and 128.2 × 103 kg cm–2 in areas of controlled livestock numbers. In controlled grazing areas, the ingestion and walking trampling intensities of yaks were 25.2 and 5.4 times higher, respectively, than those of sheep. Under areas of controlled livestock numbers, these values were 10.3 and 5.9 times higher, respectively, than those of sheep. The average trampling intensity of yaks was 7.3 times higher than that of the sheep. Therefore, under conditions of similar grazing intensity, yaks cause more damage than Tibetan sheep in alpine meadows.

Additional keywords: grazing intensity, livestock trampling area, number of steps, Ovis ammon, Poephagus grunniens.

Rotational grazing management achieves similar plant diversity outcomes to areas managed for conservation in a semi-arid rangeland

Sarah E. McDonald A B D , Nick Reid A , Rhiannon Smith A , Cathleen M. Waters C , John Hunter A and Romina Rader A

- Author Affiliations

A Ecosystem Management, School of Environmental and Rural Science, University of New England, Armidale, NSW 2351, Australia.

B NSW Department of Primary Industries, Trangie Agricultural Research Centre, PMB 19, 7878 Mitchell Highway, Trangie, NSW 2823, Australia.

C NSW Department of Primary Industries, Orange Agricultural Institute, 1447 Forest Road, Orange, NSW 2800, Australia.

D Corresponding author: Email: sarahmcdonald18@outlook.com

The Rangeland Journal 41(2) 135-145 https://doi.org/10.1071/RJ18090
Submitted: 31 August 2018  Accepted: 24 February 2019   Published: 9 April 2019

Abstract

Despite the increasing extent of protected areas throughout the world, biodiversity decline continues. Grazing management that promotes both biodiversity and production outcomes has the potential to improve broad-scale conservation and complement the protected area network. In this study we explored the potential to integrate commercial livestock grazing and conservation in a semi-arid rangeland in south-eastern Australia. Understorey floristic composition and diversity were compared at different spatial scales across three grazing management treatments: (1) continuous commercial grazing management where paddocks were grazed for the majority of the year (≥8 months per annum); (2) rotational commercial grazing management where livestock are frequently rotated and paddocks rested for >4 months per annum; and (3) protected areas managed for conservation with domestic livestock excluded and grazed only by native and feral herbivores. The season of sampling, rainfall, soil characteristics and the spatial location of sites were the dominant drivers of variability in understorey plant species composition; the effect of grazing treatment on understorey plant species composition was relatively minor. However, areas managed for conservation and under rotational forms of commercial grazing management generally had greater floristic richness and diversity than continuously grazed areas, the results varying with season (spring/autumn) and soil type (clay/sandy-loam), particularly at fine scale (1-m2 quadrats). These findings indicate that rotational grazing management on commercial properties has the potential to improve biodiversity conservation outside the reserve system compared to conventional grazing management.

Additional keywords: continuous grazing, floristic composition, functional diversity, richness, soil type, spatial scale.

Should I stay or should I go? Indirect effects of livestock on bird nest-site selection in arid environments

Mariana Tadey

- Author Affiliations

Lab. Ecotono, CONICET-INIBIOMA, Pasaje Gutiérrez 1125, (8400) S. C. Bariloche, Argentina. Email: mtadey@conicet.gov.ar

The Rangeland Journal 41(2) 147-155 https://doi.org/10.1071/RJ18067
Submitted: 16 June 2018  Accepted: 13 March 2019   Published: 17 April 2019

Abstract

Introduced livestock may indirectly affect bird species by decreasing vegetation structure and affecting the selection of nesting sites. This is especially true for birds that use shrubs as the raw material for nest construction or for nest placement. Nesting in inadequate supporting structures or the use of inadequate raw material for nest building may increase nest vulnerability (e.g. increasing structure weakness, falling and nest exposure to predation). Accordingly, bird species show a great variation in the selectivity of nesting sites and the raw material they use. Furnariidae family members exhibit an extraordinary diversity in nest placement and structure, which allows them to survive in different arid environments. I report here on a study of nest site selection of two common furnariid species, Leptasthenura aegithaloides and Pseudoseisura gutturalis, across a grazing gradient composed by nine independent paddocks within the same arid habitat. These species use large closed-nests (>40 cm long) built with thorny branches, placed on spiny shrubs. I measured nest abundance and supporting plants characteristics, vegetation structure, browsing intensity and compared the plants selected by the birds with the surrounding vegetation. These bird species used only few plant species for nest building and location. Livestock significantly reduced vegetation cover of the species used to build and place the nests, affecting nest site selection and reducing nest abundance. As livestock density increased, both species selected aggregated plants and the tallest plants for nesting, which may increase nest exposure. Therefore, livestock may indirectly affect nest-site selection of birds ultimately affecting their nesting ecology. This work illustrates how domestic livestock, through decreasing plant cover, may affect native biota with consequences on key species within an ecosystem.

Additional keywords: bird nesting ecology, desert, Furnariidae, plant–animal interaction, vegetation structure.

 

COMMENT

The contribution of the pastoral industry to a diversified land sector economy in northern Australia

Ian McLean A C and Phil Holmes B

- Author Affiliations

A Bush Agribusiness Pty Ltd, PO Box 41 Withcott, QLD 4352, Australia.

B Holmes & Company, PO Box 215 Huskisson, NSW 2540, Australia.

C Corresponding author. Email: ian@bushagri.com.au

The Rangeland Journal 41(2) 157-160 https://doi.org/10.1071/RJ18098
Submitted: 25 October 2018  Accepted: 3 April 2019   Published: 14 May 2019

Abstract

The paper ‘Emerging opportunities for developing a diversified land sector economy in Australia’s northern savannas’ (Russell-Smith and Sangha 2018: The Rangeland Journal 40, 315–330. doi:10.1071/RJ18005) draws heavily on work by the present authors. We are of the opinion that the use of our data is incomplete, and in some cases incorrect. We conclude that their analysis does not accurately portray the economic performance and contribution of the pastoral sector in northern Australia, nor justify the conclusion that fundamental land sector change is required. The present work details the concerns that we have with the Russell-Smith and Sangha paper.

Additional keywords: economics of resource use, rangeland governance, rangeland management.