• A viewpoint: Using multiple variables as indicators in grazing research and management

      Scarnecchia, D. L. (Society for Range Management, 1994-03-01)
      Multi-variable analysis of grazing research has seen little conceptual development and even less application. To advance research on the multiple relationships of livestock grazing, computer-based analyses using multiple variables are needed. Dynamic variables describing livestock-herbage relationships must be developed to describe dynamic processes such as herbage growth and disappearance. Such variables could be used either alone or in combination with other variables as indicators to analyze and manage grazing. This paper presents 4 arrays of derived variables and discusses their individual and combinational value in analyzing and managing grazing. Greater power in analyzing grazing will come from use of combinations of variables rather than relying on single variables, e.g., stocking level. The variables described are useful in comprehensive analyses of research or in ad hoc roles aiding decisions in management. The paper also discusses possible future uses of variables as indicators in computerized analyses of other ecological systems.
    • Productivity of long-term grazing treatments in response to seasonal precipitation

      Milchunas, D. G.; Forwood, J. R.; Lauenroth, W. K. (Society for Range Management, 1994-03-01)
      Estimates of forage production for long-term ungrazed, lightly, moderately, and heavily grazed treatments (0, 20, 40, 60% removal of annual forage production) established in 1939 in shortgrass steppe communities were subjected to multiple regression analyses to assess long-term temporal trends resulting from grazing and short-term sensitivities to abiotic factors. Average production based upon all data from 1939-1990 was 75, 71, 68, and 57 g m-2 yr-1 for ungrazed, lightly, moderately, and heavily grazed treatments, respectively. Variability in forage production was explained mostly by cool-season precipitation, and magnitude of forage production was more sensitive to annual fluctuations in precipitation than to long-term grazing treatments. Production per unit increase of precipitation was greater for cool-season than warm-season precipitation, but only when cool-season precipitation was above average. This was attributed to differences in evaporative demand of the atmosphere resulting in different utilization-efficiencies of small and large rainfall events in the 2 seasons. Based upon a regression model constructed using data from 1939 through 1962, forage production was not affected by grazing to 20 to 35% removal. For pastures of average relative productivity, grazing at 60% level of consumption for 25 years resulted in a 3% decrease in forage production in wet years and a 12% decrease in dry years. Estimates of productivity after 50 years of heavy compared to light grazing treatment were -5 and -18% for wet and average y precipitation, respectively.