Range management is also crucial for the wildlife that shares these grazing fields with livestock. This permits livestock and wildlife to graze in more remote places that were previously not near to a water supply but are now thanks to the addition of a water trough and a pipeline to transport the water there. The wildlife that uses these areas now have somewhere safe to go to the bathroom, which means they're less likely to be harassed by farmers who need their land for food production.
Without range management, this would not be possible because the livestock would use up all the available forage before any other species could eat it. This would cause serious problems for the wildlife that can't move away from the livestock or predators that would kill them. For example, without range management, herbivores would crowd out vegetation that other organisms need to survive (such as flowers and trees), which would cause extinction if they didn't get their share of the pasture first. Livestock would have to be confined to certain areas or else they would cause too much damage to be able to sustain themselves.
With range management, some of the pastures are left ungrazed so that if animals need to go to the bathroom they can do so safely. This allows other organisms that benefit from having space to live their lives in peace, such as flowering plants and trees, to spread their seed and grow closer to water sources than what's suitable for livestock.
The Value of Grasslands and Rangelands Rangeland and grassland ecosystems give critical advantages to agriculture and the environment, especially farmland. Forage and grazing for cattle and natural animals. Plants, insects, and animals need a place to live. Without rangelands, these benefits would disappear. Conservation value The world's rangelands have special conservation values that must be protected for the long term sustainability of livestock production and biodiversity.
Rangelands are utilized all over the world to produce cattle for food and fiber, collect renewable and nonrenewable energy and mineral resources, provide home for animals, and offer open space for human enjoyment and leisure. The three main uses of rangeland are as a source of meat, dairy products, and wool; as a source of fuel; and as a source of other materials.
Rangeland occupies about one-fifth of the earth's land surface and provides livelihood for more than half of the world's population. In fact, livestock production on rangeland accounts for almost 20% of the world's vegetated area. Rangeland plays an important role in maintaining soil productivity and biogeochemical cycles, which can mitigate some of the effects of climate change. It also acts as a reservoir for water, providing areas where excess rainfall can be stored and later released when needed.
However, due to its extensive nature, nearly 15% of rangeland is lost each year to deforestation or degradation. Additionally, overgrazing by livestock can lead to desertification if it occurs over large areas of grassland. Desertification affects the quality of life for people who live near these degraded lands because they no longer have reliable access to water or fertile soil.
Improvement and restoration of rangeland. Planning and implementing biological, chemical, mechanical, and prescribed fire using ecological principles. Treatments for improving land for wildlife habitat, livestock grazing, watershed health, and other land management objectives include clearing brush, trees, and shrubs; plowing under vegetation that grows back more than 10 years; fertilizing to enhance plant growth; and controlled burning. The goal is to maintain or restore the quality of the land over time.
Improving rangeland requires a commitment of time and money. However, these efforts are worth it because improved rangeland benefits people and nature by providing food for livestock and game animals, water for people and plants, sediment control for streams, and fuel for preventing wildfires. Improved rangeland also provides habitat for birds and other wildlife.
Landowners can improve their own rangeland by using herbicides, pesticides, and tractors to control weeds that compete with grasses for moisture and nutrients. They can also clear out dead and dying trees, which can cause erosion if they are large enough, by removing them from the property. Finally, landowners can perform regular prescribed burns to encourage new growth and reduce the amount of fuel available for wildfire.
Land managers can improve rangeland by conducting research on what practices work best in different locations.
Natural grassland, savannas, numerous marshes, certain deserts, tundra, and some forb and shrub communities are all examples of rangelands. Pastures are places that are primarily utilized to grow adapted, domesticated feed plants for cattle. The term "pasture" may also be used to describe land that has been cultivated for hay or forage crops.
Rangelands are usually defined as land that is naturally covered with grasses, sedges, herbs, or other herbaceous plants that use photosynthesis to produce oxygen and fuel their growth. Rangelands can also include forested lands that have been cleared of their trees and then used for grazing. Pastures are areas where livestock are maintained for milk, meat, or wool. These areas can be either natural pastures or agricultural fields that are protected from harvesting practices such as mowing or burning and used exclusively for grazing.
Both rangelands and pastures provide food and shelter for humans and animals living in rural areas. However, only rangelands require specific management techniques because they contain many more challenges than pastures. For example, growing conditions need to be considered when choosing what type of range will reside on a particular parcel of land. Some ranges are better suited for one type of production system while others are more suitable for another system.