Date of Award

5-1997

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Departmental Honors

Department

Wildland Resources

First Advisor

Page S. Clinton

Abstract

Grazing systems have in the past been developed to increase or maintain livestock production without degrading the land (Archer and Smeins, 1991). A grazing system is a "specialization of grazing management which defines the periods of grazing and non-grazing" (Jacoby, 1989). However, these systems can be developed for other uses besides just livestock. Grazing systems can be used as management tools by manipulating vegetation in specific directions to meet desired objectives. This is done by the livestock themselves because they act as "ecosystem regulators" by having a direct impact on the vegetation (Holechek et al., 1995). Livestock can alter the species composition of the vegetation, improve the nutritive quality of forage, increase the productivity of certain species, and increase the structural diversity of habitat (Heady, 1994). By affecting the structural diversity, livestock also have an impact on wildlife populations (Fleischner, 1994). The object of many grazing plans is to take livestock impacts into account and coordinate the needs of domestic animals with the needs of the wildlife (Heady and Child, 1994). Prolonged heavy grazing reduces the diversity of wildlife, but so does no grazing. However, specialized grazing systems have benefited wildlife - especially waterfowl (Heady, 1994).

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