Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

A little rest from grazing improves native grasslands

05.12.2014

Just like us, grasslands need rest to improve their health. A study just published by Point Blue Conservation Science in the journal Ecological Restoration shows a 72 percent increase in where native perennial grasses were found on a coastal California ranch when cattle grazing was changed to give the land more time to rest.

Over the last 300 years, nonnative annual grasses have invaded California's grasslands. These exotic grasses complete their lifecycle in one year and out-compete the native perennial grasses (grasses that live for multiple years).

Native perennial grasslands in California are one of the most biologically diverse ecosystems in the world, providing habitat for many bird species and other wildlife while also allowing water to better infiltrate soil, decreasing erosion and increasing water storage. They also stay green into the dry months and provide forage for cattle during lean times.

"Managing land and animals to promote perennial grasses through holistic planned grazing offers ranchers the most effective means of creating a profitable beef business, viable in the long-term, "says Joe Morris of T.O. Cattle Company. "By managing for perennial grasses we tend to increase the productivity of our ranches, their beauty, and their resilience against drought. The flip side of this is better performance for our animals and more profit for our business. These are the hallmarks sustainability."

The study's scientists documented the increase in perennial grasses by monitoring plant communities at TomKat Ranch near Pescadero, Calif., over the last three years. TomKat Ranch is a 728 hectare (1,800 acre) cow-calf grass-fed beef operation of 100-150 head.

In 2011, the ranch switched from continuous grazing, allowing cattle to graze over large portions of the ranch for months at a time, to a planned grazing approach. They increased cattle density by moving them through a series of smaller subdivided pastures, resting each pasture for 70 to 120 days before grazing again.

Three years after the change, the number of vegetation survey units where native perennial grasses were found increased by 72 percent.

"At TomKat Ranch, we value food production done in a way that maximizes benefits to our entire ranching system--our business, our community and the environment" says Kat Taylor, owner of TomKat Ranch. "Point Blue's science shows how using rest-rotational grazing can begin to restore coastal rangelands to native grasses and improve water and carbon storage in the soil, while increasing biodiversity and the grass forage potential for our herd."

The research suggests planned grazing promotes native perennial grass growth by reducing competition from invasive annual grasses. The periods of rest from grazing, especially during plant flowering, allows for more native perennial seed production and increases plant numbers, vigor and size. As California rangelands face the possibility of another drought year, incorporating more rest into grazing practices could improve the health of grasslands and help make ranching more ecologically sustainable.

Download or view a one-page summary of the scientific publication: http://www.pointblue.org/pubbriefs

Study citation: Henneman, C., N.E. Seavy, & T. Gardali. 2014. Restoring Native Perennial Grasses by Changing Grazing Practices in Central Coastal California. Ecological Restoration, 32:352-354. http://er.uwpress.org/content/32/4/352?etoc

About Point Blue Conservation Science:

Our mission is to advance the conservation of birds, other wildlife and ecosystems through science, partnerships and outreach. Our 140 scientists, along with educators and restoration specialists, work to reduce the impacts of habitat loss, climate change and other environmental threats while promoting nature-based solutions for wildlife and people, on land and at sea. Visit Point Blue at http://www.pointblue.org 

Melissa Pitkin | EurekAlert!

Further reports about: Conservation Science Grasslands beef ecosystems grasses native perennial perennial grasses

More articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation:

nachricht Scientists team up on study to save endangered African penguins
16.11.2017 | Florida Atlantic University

nachricht Climate change: Urban trees are growing faster worldwide
13.11.2017 | Technische Universität München

All articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Nanoparticles help with malaria diagnosis – new rapid test in development

The WHO reports an estimated 429,000 malaria deaths each year. The disease mostly affects tropical and subtropical regions and in particular the African continent. The Fraunhofer Institute for Silicate Research ISC teamed up with the Fraunhofer Institute for Molecular Biology and Applied Ecology IME and the Institute of Tropical Medicine at the University of Tübingen for a new test method to detect malaria parasites in blood. The idea of the research project “NanoFRET” is to develop a highly sensitive and reliable rapid diagnostic test so that patient treatment can begin as early as possible.

Malaria is caused by parasites transmitted by mosquito bite. The most dangerous form of malaria is malaria tropica. Left untreated, it is fatal in most cases....

Im Focus: A “cosmic snake” reveals the structure of remote galaxies

The formation of stars in distant galaxies is still largely unexplored. For the first time, astron-omers at the University of Geneva have now been able to closely observe a star system six billion light-years away. In doing so, they are confirming earlier simulations made by the University of Zurich. One special effect is made possible by the multiple reflections of images that run through the cosmos like a snake.

Today, astronomers have a pretty accurate idea of how stars were formed in the recent cosmic past. But do these laws also apply to older galaxies? For around a...

Im Focus: Visual intelligence is not the same as IQ

Just because someone is smart and well-motivated doesn't mean he or she can learn the visual skills needed to excel at tasks like matching fingerprints, interpreting medical X-rays, keeping track of aircraft on radar displays or forensic face matching.

That is the implication of a new study which shows for the first time that there is a broad range of differences in people's visual ability and that these...

Im Focus: Novel Nano-CT device creates high-resolution 3D-X-rays of tiny velvet worm legs

Computer Tomography (CT) is a standard procedure in hospitals, but so far, the technology has not been suitable for imaging extremely small objects. In PNAS, a team from the Technical University of Munich (TUM) describes a Nano-CT device that creates three-dimensional x-ray images at resolutions up to 100 nanometers. The first test application: Together with colleagues from the University of Kassel and Helmholtz-Zentrum Geesthacht the researchers analyzed the locomotory system of a velvet worm.

During a CT analysis, the object under investigation is x-rayed and a detector measures the respective amount of radiation absorbed from various angles....

Im Focus: Researchers Develop Data Bus for Quantum Computer

The quantum world is fragile; error correction codes are needed to protect the information stored in a quantum object from the deteriorating effects of noise. Quantum physicists in Innsbruck have developed a protocol to pass quantum information between differently encoded building blocks of a future quantum computer, such as processors and memories. Scientists may use this protocol in the future to build a data bus for quantum computers. The researchers have published their work in the journal Nature Communications.

Future quantum computers will be able to solve problems where conventional computers fail today. We are still far away from any large-scale implementation,...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Ecology Across Borders: International conference brings together 1,500 ecologists

15.11.2017 | Event News

Road into laboratory: Users discuss biaxial fatigue-testing for car and truck wheel

15.11.2017 | Event News

#Berlin5GWeek: The right network for Industry 4.0

30.10.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Previous evidence of water on mars now identified as grainflows

21.11.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

NASA's James Webb Space Telescope completes final cryogenic testing

21.11.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

New catalyst controls activation of a carbon-hydrogen bond

21.11.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>