Effect of Rancher’s Management Philosophy, Grazing Practices, and Personal Characteristics on Sustainability Indices for North Central Texas Rangeland Page: 26
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In areas of lower rainfall, and with annual grasses, studies have shown advantages for better
animal performance with continuous grazing systems (Mcllvain and Savage, 1951; Hoelechek et
al., 1987; Reece, 1986).
Negative Ecological Impacts of Livestock Management
Taking a look inward, at a targeted portion of American agriculture practices, it is not
hard to find instances of overlooking our environmental impact. When examining management
on U.S. grazingland which is a use that encompasses nearly 587 million acres or 25.9% of land
in the United States (Lubowiski et al., 2006), we find flawed policy, philosophy and
management. These flaws all have helped to increase the instance of overgrazing, which can
cause a profound change to the ecological function and productivity of rangeland. This is
especially true for native flora and fauna, as Samson et al. (2004) suggest that few grassland
landscapes remain adequate in area and distribution to sustain diversity sufficient to include biota
and ecological drivers native to the landscape.
Historically, profits were realized by depleting the range. Today, the range must be
sustained at a healthy level for ranching to be profitable. Rangeland degradation reduces the
diversity and amount of the values and commodities that rangelands provide, and severe
rangeland degradation can be irreversible. Overgrazing, drought, erosion, and other human and
naturally induced stresses have caused severe degradation in the past. (NRCS, 2000)
Overgrazing is not caused simply because livestock are present. Instead, it is a problem caused
by having too many herbivores grazing on a particular area, given the climatic, soil and
vegetative conditions, in a given timeframe. Or it may be caused because extensive grazing or
poorly managed rotational grazing of domestic animals by humans does not emulate the
movements of wild ungulates, whereby managed herds during dry seasons are held at stocking
rates higher than the land can support (Teague et al., 2008). Feeding and compaction by
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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/m1/37/: accessed March 28, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; .