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Data from: Ecological, biophysical and production effects of incorporating rest into grazing regimes: a global meta-analysis

Citation

McDonald, Sarah E.; Lawrence, Rachel; Kendall, Liam; Rader, Romina (2019), Data from: Ecological, biophysical and production effects of incorporating rest into grazing regimes: a global meta-analysis, Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.kf160cj

Abstract

1. Grazing can have considerable ecological impacts when managed inappropriately, however livestock production is a significant contributor to global food security and the removal of land from production is not always a viable option. Grazing management practices that incorporate periods of planned rest (i.e. strategic-rest grazing) may be an alternative that could achieve ecological and animal production outcomes simultaneously. 2. We conducted a meta-analysis of global literature to investigate how strategic-rest grazing mediates ecological (i.e., plant richness and diversity), biophysical (plant biomass and ground cover) and production response variables (animal weight gain, animal production per hectare-1) compared to continuously grazed or ungrazed areas. 3. We show that rest periods are important to grazing sustainability and production. Overall, total ground cover and animal production per ha-1 were significantly greater under strategic-rest grazing than continuous grazing management, but biomass, plant richness, plant diversity and animal weight gain did not differ between grazing treatments. Increasing the length of rest relative to graze time under strategic-rest grazing was associated with an increase in plant biomass, ground cover, animal weight gain and animal production per ha-1 when compared to continuous grazing. 4. Synthesis & applications. If managed appropriately, livestock grazing may be compatible with maintaining both ecological and production outcomes. Understanding both the ecological and animal production trade-offs associated with different grazing management strategies is essential to make informed decisions about best-management practices for the world’s grazing lands.

Usage Notes

Location

South America
Eurasia
Europe
Africa
North America
Australia/ New Zealand
Global