Browsing Journal of Range Management, Volume 48, Number 3 (May 1995) by Title
Now showing items 14-16 of 16
New concepts for assessment of rangeland conditionRange condition score or classification does not tell us, in a general sense, much of what managers and the public want to know about rangelands. Range condition is not a reliable indicator, across all rangelands, of biodiversity, erosion potential, nutrient cycling, value for wildlife species, or productivity. Succession, the basis for the current concept of range condition is not an adequate yardstick for evaluation of rangelands. The Society for Range Management (SRM) established the Task Group on Unity in Concepts and Terminology which has developed new concepts tor evaluation of the status of rangelands. These concepts are based on the premise that the most important and basic physical resource on each ecological site is the soil. If sufficient soil is lost from an ecological site, the potential of the site is changed. The Task Group made three recommendations, which were adopted by the SRM: 1) evaluations of rangelands should be made from the basis of the same land unit classification, ecological site; 2) plant communities likely to occur on a site should be evaluated for protection of that site against accelerated erosion (Site Conservation Rating, [SCR]); and 3) selection of a Desired Plant Community (DPC) for an ecological site should be made considering both SCR and management objectives for that site.
Observation: Botanical and other characteristics in Arctic salt-affected coastal areasThis study was designed to provide information on cover, botanical composition, and frequency of major plant species in a brood-rearing area used by migratory geese south of Howe Island on the Sagavanirktok River Delta near Prudhoe Bay, Alaska. The area is split by the Endicott road and the information was also used to gain preliminary information concerning the effect of the road on goose and caribou activity. Transects on the east and west sides of the access road at the base of the Endicott causeway were established to evaluate occurrences of vegetation, goose fecal pellets, caribou tracks, and coastal debris. The point intercept method characterized plant cover, species frequency, and botanical composition. The recorded occurrence of fecal pellets and tracks on the transects were used as estimates of the presence of geese and caribou. Vegetative cover was 21% west and 38% east of the road near the Endicott causeway base in 1991. The 3 species most prominent west of the road were Carex sub-spathacea Wormsk., Salix spp., and Puccinellia phryganodes (Trin.) Scribn. & Merr. (botanical composition of 26, 23, and 21%, respectively). East of the road, Salix spp. (43%) dominated botanical composition followed by Carex aquatilis Wahlenb. (13%) and Dryas integrifolia M. Vahl (11%). The west and east sides differed botanically. Caribou tracks were observed in 60% of the transects on both sides of the road and goose fecal pellets were more prevalent on the west side (86%) than on the east side (48%). Geese pellets and caribou tracks occurred in different locations in the study area. Goose fecal pellets were from all goose species and may have included more than 1 year.
Technical Note: Physical factors that influence fecal analysis estimates of herbivore dietsMicrohistological analysis of epidermal fragments in feces is often used to estimate the diet of herbivores but is not generally accepted as a consistently reliable method. Gross errors arise, especially when diets are composed of herbage components with widely different morphological and structural characteristics. The present study investigated the possibility of using such physical characteristics to improve the reliability of the method. Over a 7 day period, 4 rumen-fistulated beef cows were given a fixed diet composed of a shrub, a grass, and a forb component. On the last 2 days, samples of rumen content and feces were taken for analysis of epidermal fragment. Forbs were under-estimated, grasses over-estimated, and shrubs correctly estimated. Correction factors to estimate true diet composition were defined as the biomass represented by the specific epidermal fragments (epidermal weight index) and the degree of degradation to which the epidermis is subjected in the digestion process (epidermal erodibility factor). These factors account for characteristic physical features of the different dietary components and were measured directly or were derived from the calibration experiment. The utility of such factors depends on accurate determination of the component variables and may be overshadowed by sampling error and observer bias in the microhistological identification of epidermal fragments.