Effect of Rancher’s Management Philosophy, Grazing Practices, and Personal Characteristics on Sustainability Indices for North Central Texas Rangeland Page: 18
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grazing prevented chronic defoliation (McNaughton et al., 1989). Overgrazing occurs on
individual plants as a result of multiple, severe defoliations without sufficient physiological
recovery between defoliations. Variables including site location, stock density, time-specificity,
and diet selection of grazing animals which can put palatable and actively growing plants in
preferred areas at a disadvantage (Earl and Jones, 1996). Stocking rate affects only the
proportion of plants likely to be used heavily. Therefore, while conservative stocking is an
important first step in sustainable management, it must be applied in conjunction with other
management practices like short grazing periods at high stock density (O'Connor, 1992) and
periodic deferment to mitigate the effects of selective grazing (O'Reagain et al., 2003).
Increasing differences in palatability and abundance among different plants in a pasture,
decreasing stock density, or increasing the graze period will tend to increase the likelihood of
overgrazing the more palatable plants (Earl and Jones, 1996). Supplemental feeding, and other
management practices that artificially sustain herbivores, break the negative feedback that
promotes good range productivity and maintains long-term system stability. In general, strategies
to increase cattle production in semi-arid rangelands should be based on the improvement of
natural forage production (Diaz-Solis et al., 2006).
Vegetation dynamics on a landscape emerge from interactions among plant autecology,
community processes, climate, and disturbance, as modified by grazing animal preferences and
distribution in response to plant species, topographic and ecological site diversity (Walker,
Livestock Management Strategies
Grazing management systems were developed in an attempt to manage grazers and
grazing lands in a manner that maintains or improves ecosystem structure and function while
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Becker, Wayne. Effect of Rancher’s Management Philosophy, Grazing Practices, and Personal Characteristics on Sustainability Indices for North Central Texas Rangeland, dissertation, December 2011; Denton, Texas. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc103289/m1/29/: accessed March 27, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; .