Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


Patchwork strategies may be best for restoring Texas rangelands

A patchwork quilt approach may best suit landowners trying to repair many years of overgrazing, continuous stocking and fire suppression on Texas rangelands, said a Texas Agricultural Experiment Station researcher.

Dr. Bill Pinchak, Experiment Station range animal nutritionist, and his colleagues, Dr. Jim Ansley, Dr. Dean Ransom and Dr. Richard Teague will explain the patch disturbance for rangeland restoration management plan at the Range and Wildlife Field Day on Oct. 5.

"Managing the Rangeland Resources of the Texas Rolling Plains" will begin with registration at 8 a.m. at Texas Foundation Seed, adjacent to the Texas A&M University System Agricultural Research and Extension Center near Vernon.

Texas rangelands have steadily declined in productivity, biodiversity and watershed function due to "chronic" disturbances, Pinchak said. These continuous disturbances are the primary reason for woody plant encroachment, ecological degradation and loss of plant diversity.

"Rangeland restoration has traditionally been based on chemical, mechanical and/or fire techniques applied to an entire pasture at infrequent intervals," he said. "These large-scale disturbances have generally created landscapes favorable to livestock management, but not necessarily favoring wildlife, watersheds or ecosystem function."

Now, Pinchak said, increasing interest in ecotourism, land tenure changes and smaller ranch properties have led to different of what is good rangeland condition.

The Rangeland Innovations for Sustainable Environments team is a group of scientists from the Vernon, Uvalde and San Angelo Research and Extension Centers who are studying the feasibility of re-introducing frequent, small-scale (patch) disturbances.

In addition to Pinchak, Ansley, Teague and Ransom, team members are Dr. Keith Owens, Uvalde; Dr. Butch Taylor, Sonora; Dr. Susan Cooper, Uvalde; and Dr. Dale Rollins, San Angelo.

For the past three years, patch disturbances of fire or mechanical brush control on continuously grazed pastures has been used to alter livestock grazing patterns, Pinchak said.

These changes are anticipated to facilitate aid biodiversity and production, and decrease the effects of woody plants on Texas rangelands under continuous grazing, he said.

Funding for this research initiative is provided by the U.S. Department of Agriculture Joe Skeen Institute for Rangeland Restoration.

Research is being conducted across a 400-mile north to south gradient of Texas rangelands from Vernon to Barnhart and Uvalde, he said. Fire or roller-chopping is applied to 10 percent of each pasture to determine the soil, plant and wildlife responses.

The studies create a mosaic of patch disturbance histories that will alter the timing, duration and intensity of livestock and wildlife use across the entire pasture, Pinchak said.

"The analogy is one of a patchwork quilt, where each color patch in the quilt represents a different understory (grasses) and overstory (trees/shrubs) plant structure based on the type of patch disturbance used, time since disturbance and intensity of livestock and wildlife use on the resultant patch," he said.

The patches represent: areas recently treated and heavily grazed; those treated and grazed heavily one to seven years ago; areas grazed less than in the past; and areas grazed more than in the past, he said.

Collectively, the patch disturbances increase the diversity of plants and improve the spatial distribution of grazing by livestock and wildlife, Pinchak said.

The scientists believe this technique will lead to improved rangeland condition, because of the natural tendency for livestock and wildlife to use recently disturbed areas, he said. This should decrease use on undisturbed and older disturbed areas and promote more rapid rates of vegetation change.

"We have seen the animals do prefer and utilize more the disturbed sites, although with the drought, the responses have been slow," Pinchak said.

The practice of disturbing only 10 percent of any one pasture also benefits the producer who doesn't have another place to go with the cattle, he said.

"If a pasture was burned in entirety, it requires pre-burn and post-burn removal of the cattle," Pinchak said. "With the patch disturbance approach, it allows them to manage woody plants and improve range conditions without having to change their grazing management program."

Dr. Bill Pinchak | EurekAlert!
Further information:

More articles from Agricultural and Forestry Science:

nachricht Forest Management Yields Higher Productivity through Biodiversity
14.10.2016 | Technische Universität München

nachricht Farming with forests
23.09.2016 | University of Illinois College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences (ACES)

All articles from Agricultural and Forestry Science >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: New 3-D wiring technique brings scalable quantum computers closer to reality

Researchers from the Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) at the University of Waterloo led the development of a new extensible wiring technique capable of controlling superconducting quantum bits, representing a significant step towards to the realization of a scalable quantum computer.

"The quantum socket is a wiring method that uses three-dimensional wires based on spring-loaded pins to address individual qubits," said Jeremy Béjanin, a PhD...

Im Focus: Scientists develop a semiconductor nanocomposite material that moves in response to light

In a paper in Scientific Reports, a research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute describes a novel light-activated phenomenon that could become the basis for applications as diverse as microscopic robotic grippers and more efficient solar cells.

A research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) has developed a revolutionary, light-activated semiconductor nanocomposite material that can be used...

Im Focus: Diamonds aren't forever: Sandia, Harvard team create first quantum computer bridge

By forcefully embedding two silicon atoms in a diamond matrix, Sandia researchers have demonstrated for the first time on a single chip all the components needed to create a quantum bridge to link quantum computers together.

"People have already built small quantum computers," says Sandia researcher Ryan Camacho. "Maybe the first useful one won't be a single giant quantum computer...

Im Focus: New Products - Highlights of COMPAMED 2016

COMPAMED has become the leading international marketplace for suppliers of medical manufacturing. The trade fair, which takes place every November and is co-located to MEDICA in Dusseldorf, has been steadily growing over the past years and shows that medical technology remains a rapidly growing market.

In 2016, the joint pavilion by the IVAM Microtechnology Network, the Product Market “High-tech for Medical Devices”, will be located in Hall 8a again and will...

Im Focus: Ultra-thin ferroelectric material for next-generation electronics

'Ferroelectric' materials can switch between different states of electrical polarization in response to an external electric field. This flexibility means they show promise for many applications, for example in electronic devices and computer memory. Current ferroelectric materials are highly valued for their thermal and chemical stability and rapid electro-mechanical responses, but creating a material that is scalable down to the tiny sizes needed for technologies like silicon-based semiconductors (Si-based CMOS) has proven challenging.

Now, Hiroshi Funakubo and co-workers at the Tokyo Institute of Technology, in collaboration with researchers across Japan, have conducted experiments to...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

Agricultural Trade Developments and Potentials in Central Asia and the South Caucasus

14.10.2016 | Event News

World Health Summit – Day Three: A Call to Action

12.10.2016 | Event News

Latest News

New method increases energy density in lithium batteries

24.10.2016 | Power and Electrical Engineering

International team discovers novel Alzheimer's disease risk gene among Icelanders

24.10.2016 | Life Sciences

New bacteria groups, and stunning diversity, discovered underground

24.10.2016 | Life Sciences

More VideoLinks >>>