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Application of Herbivore Optimization Theory to Rangelands of the Western United States

James W. Bartolome
Ecological Applications
Vol. 3, No. 1 (Feb., 1993), pp. 27-29
Published by: Wiley
DOI: 10.2307/1941785
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/1941785
Page Count: 3
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Application of Herbivore Optimization Theory to Rangelands of the Western United States
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Abstract

The central assumption for management of range condition--that plant response to selective grazing drives changes in plant community structure--is only weakly supported by evidence from semi-arid rangelands. Most of the vegetation changes attributed to selective grazing can instead be explained through proper interpretation of grazing intensity. Specialized livestock grazing systems, which assume that selective seasonal grazing controls ecosystem function, work poorly on semi-arid rangelands when compared to simpler grazing methods based on managing grazing intensity. Compensatory growth has been well linked to ecosystem processes in highly productive and intensively managed pastures, but not on semi-arid rangelands.

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