Effect of Rancher’s Management Philosophy, Grazing Practices, and Personal Characteristics on Sustainability Indices for North Central Texas Rangeland Page: 22
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that creates a shifting mosaic using spatially and temporally discrete disturbances in grasslands
can be a useful tool in conservation.
Rotational Grazing Systems
Rotational grazing is pasture management in which animals are rotated through a series
of paddocks, generally on some flexible basis (Butterfield et al., 2006). Rotational grazing is
more complex than continuous to understand. In fact, there are many specialized rotational
grazing strategies. Land rest is the critical feature of any specialize grazing system. Some
examples of specific systems are: Deferred Rotation, Merril Three-herd/Four Pasture, Season-
Suitability, The Best Pasture, High Intensity-Low Frequency, and Short Duration (Holechek et
al., 1989). This literature review will not address each system, but mentioning them is necessary
to understand the complicated nature of rotational grazing.
Native grazing ecosystems evolved while being dominated by large, migratory ungulate
herbivores. These ungulates would often graze selected sites very intensely. But the duration of
the intense grazing was short and defoliated plants were afforded time and usually suitable
conditions for re-growth (McNaughton et al., 1989). Nomadic pastoral systems that mimic these
grazing patterns of wild ungulates seem to have less detrimental effects on vegetation than more
sedentary grazing management (Danckwerts et al., 1993). However, with rotational systems, the
grazing load on other pastures must be increased during the critical growing period (Holecheck
et al., 1989).
Teague et al. (2008) explains that significant range improvement can occur by providing
periodic, adequate growing season deferment. Around the world, observations have noted an
increasing proportion of desired plant species and increased plant vigor following growing
season deferment. Growing season rest improved range conditions when stocking rates were
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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/m1/33/: accessed March 28, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; .