Balancing Biodiversity and Food Production: A Better Understanding of Wildlife Response to Grazing Will Inform Off-Reserve Conservation on Rangelands
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CitationNeilly, H., Vanderwal, J., & Schwarzkopf, L. (2016). Balancing Biodiversity and Food Production: A Better Understanding of Wildlife Response to Grazing Will Inform Off-Reserve Conservation on Rangelands. Rangeland Ecology & Management, 69(6), 430–436.
PublisherSociety for Range Management
JournalRangeland Ecology & Management
AbstractProtected areas are essential, but not sufficient on their own, to conserve biodiversity into the future. Rangelands, used primarily for livestock grazing, have the potential to complement existing reserve systems and be used for "off-reserve" conservation. Success relies on our ability to manage rangelands to simultaneously achieve positive economic outcomes for graziers while maintaining the ecological processes that support biodiversity. However, we argue that research has failed to effectively inform off-reserve conservation strategies, particularly in relation to vertebrate fauna. Most research has focused on the difference in faunal diversity between ungrazed and heavily grazed areas, but faunal responses between these extremes have received less attention. In reality, moderate levels of grazing seem more likely to achieve the ecological, economic and social balance that would be required for successful offreserve conservation on rangelands. Here we review the current knowledge on the impact of grazing by domestic livestock on terrestrial vertebrate fauna in rangelands, highlighting the relative lack of research on the impact of grazing regimes between the extremes. We argue that a more detailed understanding of vertebrate responses to different grazing intensities is required. Furthermore, if the potential for off-reserve conservation on rangelands is to be realized, graziers need management advice based on the integration of ecological, economic, and social data. © 2016 Published by Elsevier Inc. on behalf of The Society for Range Management. All rights reserved.