An Evaluation of Grazing Intensity Influences on California Annual Range
AuthorRosiere, R. E.
MetadataShow full item record
CitationRosiere, R. E. (1987). An evaluation of grazing intensity influences on California annual range. Journal of Range Management, 40(2), 160-165.
PublisherSociety for Range Management
JournalJournal of Range Management
AbstractInfluences of grazing intensity on species composition and herbage production of grass-woodland and improved grassland subtypes of annual range were evaluated over a 5-year period in coastal northern California using 3 grazing treatments (100, 150, and 200% of moderate stocking). Herbage utilization did not differ significantly between the 2 subtypes but averaged 42, 52, and 69% for the respective treatments. Plant species and production responses differed significantly between woodland and grassland subtypes. On woodland, ripgut brome (Bromus rigidus Roth.) and wild oats (Avena barbata Brot. and A. fatua L.) were most sensitive to grazing intensity while wild barley (Hordeum leporinum Link. and H. hystrix Roth.) and annual fescue (Festuca dertonensis (all.) Asch. and Graebn. and F. megalura Nutt.) were least sensitive. On improved grassland, subterranean clover (Trifolium subterraneum L.) increased and soft chess (Bromus mollis L.) decreased with increasing grazing intensity. Soft chess remained most plentiful on woodland range under heaviest grazing and it continued to be a major species under heavy grazing of grassland, demonstrating tolerance to grazing intensity. Filaree (Erodium cicutarium (L.) L'Her. and E. botrys (Cav.) Bertol.) declined on woodland but increased on grassland as grazing intensified. Peak standing crop was not significantly affected by grazing intensity on woodland range but was greatest at 150% of moderate stocking and lowest at 200% of moderate stocking on grassland range. Decline in grassland herbage yield under heaviest grazing was due to reduction of soft chess which was displaced by subterranean clover. Effects of grazing intensity on range composition and productivity were confounded by innate differences in ranges and yearly weather patterns. Herbage production was impacted more by annual growing conditions than by grazing regimens, but there was no correlation between total annual precipitation and peak standing crop.