ABSTRACT: Plants are important components of any rangeland. However, the importance of desert rangeland plant diversity has often been underestimated. It has been argued that desert rangelands of Tunisia in good ecological condition provide more services than those in poor ecological condition. This is because rangelands in good condition support a more diverse mixture of vegetation with many benefits, such as forage for livestock and medicinal plants. Nearly one-quarter of Tunisia, covering about 5.5 million hectares, are rangelands, of which 87% are located in the arid and desert areas (45% and 42%, respectively). Here, we provide a brief review of the floristic richness of desert rangelands of Tunisia. Approximately 135 species are specific to desert rangelands. The predominant families are Asteraceae, Poaceae, Brassicaceae, Chenopodiaceae, and Fabaceae. These represent approximately 50% of Tunisian desert flora.
Project description:Rangelands cover 40-50% of the Earth's terrestrial surface. While often characterized by limited, yet variable resource availability, rangelands are vital for humans, providing numerous ecosystem goods and services. In the conterminous United States (CONUS), the dominant component of rangeland conservation is a network of public rangelands, concentrated in the west. Public rangelands are interspersed with private and tribal rangelands resulting in a complex mosaic of land tenure and management priorities. We quantify ownership patterns of rangeland production at multiple scales across CONUS and find that both total production and average productivity of private rangelands is more than twice that of public and tribal rangelands. At finer scales, private rangelands are consistently more productive than their public counterparts. We also demonstrate an inverse relationship between public rangeland acreage and productivity. While conserving acreage is crucial to rangeland conservation, just as critical are broad-scale ecological patterns and processes that sustain ecosystem services. Across CONUS, ownership regimes capture distinct elements of these patterns and services, demonstrated through disparate production dynamics. As ownership determines the range of feasible conservation actions, and the technical and financial resources available to implement them, understanding ownership-production dynamics is critical for effective and sustained conservation of rangeland ecosystem services.
Project description:Woody biomass dynamics are an expression of ecosystem function, yet biomass estimates do not provide information on the spatial distribution of woody vegetation within the vertical vegetation subcanopy. We demonstrate the ability of airborne light detection and ranging (LiDAR) to measure aboveground biomass and subcanopy structure, as an explanatory tool to unravel vegetation dynamics in structurally heterogeneous landscapes. We sampled three communal rangelands in Bushbuckridge, South Africa, utilised by rural communities for fuelwood harvesting. Woody biomass estimates ranged between 9 Mg ha(-1) on gabbro geology sites to 27 Mg ha(-1) on granitic geology sites. Despite predictions of woodland depletion due to unsustainable fuelwood extraction in previous studies, biomass in all the communal rangelands increased between 2008 and 2012. Annual biomass productivity estimates (10-14% p.a.) were higher than previous estimates of 4% and likely a significant contributor to the previous underestimations of modelled biomass supply. We show that biomass increases are attributable to growth of vegetation <5 m in height, and that, in the high wood extraction rangeland, 79% of the changes in the vertical vegetation subcanopy are gains in the 1-3 m height class. The higher the wood extraction pressure on the rangelands, the greater the biomass increases in the low height classes within the subcanopy, likely a strong resprouting response to intensive harvesting. Yet, fuelwood shortages are still occurring, as evidenced by the losses in the tall tree height class in the high extraction rangeland. Loss of large trees and gain in subcanopy shrubs could result in a structurally simple landscape with reduced functional capacity. This research demonstrates that intensive harvesting can, paradoxically, increase biomass and this has implications for the sustainability of ecosystem service provision. The structural implications of biomass increases in communal rangelands could be misinterpreted as woodland recovery in the absence of three-dimensional, subcanopy information.
Project description:Tanzania is one of the African countries endowed with diverse rangeland's biological resources hosting 6 out of 25 globally known biodiversity hotspots. Despite, government efforts on biodiversity conservation, the pressures on rangelands' biodiversity utilization are growing in line with increasing human population. With little recognition of contribution of local knowledge in biodiversity conservation, the current paper reviewed the potential of available indigenous knowledge in Tanzania and challenges limiting adoption of this vital knowledge on rangeland's biodiversity conservation. This review established that, the country has rich indigenous knowledge potential for rangeland management and biodiversity conservation. Traditional enclosures and pastoral mobility are among the important indigenous practices used for rehabilitation of degraded rangelands and conservation of fragile ecosystems. The coexistence of local communities with complex ecosystems offers them excellent experiences on rangelands' biodiversity conservation. However, increasingly loss of rangelands' biodiversity in the country is attributed to ignoring the contribution of local communities which are rich in indigenous knowledge and skills on rangelands management. Among of the challenges hindering the adoption and involvement of indigenous knowledge to conservation are; scientific bias toward pastoral communities, loss of local expertise, poor knowledge inheritance systems, poverty, conflicts and emergence of pandemic diseases. For effective and sustainable utilisation of indigenous knowledge, the following are recommended; fully engagement of local communities in conservation process, empowering local communities to reduce poverty and conflicts, mainstreaming the indigenous knowledge to conservation education, emphasising on livelihoods diversification to reduce reliance on biological resources and promoting studies to document existing indigenous knowledge.
Project description:<h4>Background</h4>Plateau zokor (<i>Myospalax baileyi</i>) is a subterranean rodent endemic to the Tibetan Plateau. This species has been generally viewed as a pest in China due to the competition for food with livestock and also causing soil erosion. As a result, plateau zokor has been the target of widespread poisoning or trapping campaigns designed to control or eliminate it since 1970s. But there is little research on the effect of plateau zokor on plant diversity in alpine rangelands. Therefore, objectively evaluating the positive effects of the plateau zokors disturbance on their living environment and plant communities is of great significance to understand the function of plateau zokor in alpine ecosystem.<h4>Methods</h4>Here, we selected three rangelands (alpine meadow, alpine steppe and alpine shrub meadow) in which plateau zokors are typically distributed on the Tibetan Plateau, and five zokor mound density gradients were selected in each rangeland type to study the effects of the mounds on soil moisture and temperature related to plant species diversity.<h4>Results</h4>The results showed that, with the mound density increasing, the soil temperature decreased significantly in all three rangeland types, and the soil moisture significantly increased in all three rangeland types. In the alpine meadow, both the plant diversity and cumulative species richness increased significantly with increasing mound density. The increase in broad-leaved forbs is the main reason for the increase of plant diversity in the alpine meadow disturbed by zokor mounds. In the alpine steppe, the plant diversity decreased significantly with increasing mound density, while the cumulative species richness initially decreased and then increased. In the alpine shrub meadow, the plant diversity first increased and then decreased with increasing mound density as did the cumulative species richness. In conclusion, plateau zokor mounds dominated the distribution of soil moisture and temperature and significantly affected plant diversity in these three rangelands on Tibetan Plateau; the results further deepen our understanding toward a co-evolved process.
Project description:Climate and soil factors induce substantial controls over plant biodiversity in stressful ecosystems. Despite of some studies on plant biodiversity in extreme ecosystems including rocky outcrops, simultaneous effects of climate and soil factors have rarely been studied on different facets of biodiversity including taxonomic and functional diversity in these ecosystems. In addition, we know little about plant biodiversity variations in such extreme ecosystems compared to natural environments. It seems that environmental factors acting in different spatial scales specifically influence some facets of plant biodiversity. Therefore, we studied changes in taxonomic and functional diversity along precipitation and soil gradients in both landscapes (i) rocky outcrops and (ii) their nearby rangeland sites in northeast of Iran. In this regard, we considered six sites across precipitation and soil gradients in each landscape, and established 90 1m<sup>2</sup> quadrates in them (i.e. 15 quadrats in each site; 15 × 6 = 90 in each landscape). Then, taxonomic and functional diversity were measured using RaoQ index, FDis and CWM indices. Finally, we assessed impacts of precipitation and soil factors on biodiversity indices in both landscapes by performing regression models and variation partitioning procedure. The patterns of taxonomic diversity similarly showed nonlinear changes along the precipitation and soil factors in both landscapes (i.e. outcrop and rangeland). However, we found a more negative and significant trends of variation in functional diversity indices (except for CWMSLA) across precipitation and soil factors in outcrops than their surrounding rangelands. Variations of plant biodiversity were more explained by precipitation factors in surrounding rangelands, whereas soil factors including organic carbon had more consistent and significant effects on plant biodiversity in outcrops. Therefore, our results represent important impacts of soil factors in structuring plant biodiversity facets in stressful ecosystems. While, environmental factors acting in regional and broad scales such as precipitation generally shape vegetation and plant biodiversity patterns in natural ecosystems. We can conclude that rocky outcrops provide suitable microenvironments to present plant species with similar yields that are less able to be present in rangeland ecosystems.
Project description:Biodiversity in rangelands is decreasing, due to intense utilization for livestock production and conversion of rangeland into cropland; yet the outlook of rangeland biodiversity has not been considered in view of future global demand for food. Here we assess the impact of future livestock production on the global rangelands area and their biodiversity. First we formalized existing knowledge about livestock grazing impacts on biodiversity, expressed in mean species abundance (MSA) of the original rangeland native species assemblages, through metaanalysis of peer-reviewed literature. MSA values, ranging from 1 in natural rangelands to 0.3 in man-made grasslands, were entered in the IMAGE-GLOBIO model. This model was used to assess the impact of change in food demand and livestock production on future rangeland biodiversity. The model revealed remarkable regional variation in impact on rangeland area and MSA between two agricultural production scenarios. The area of used rangelands slightly increases globally between 2000 and 2050 in the baseline scenario and reduces under a scenario of enhanced uptake of resource-efficient production technologies increasing production [high levels of agricultural knowledge, science, and technology (high-AKST)], particularly in Africa. Both scenarios suggest a global decrease in MSA for rangelands until 2050. The contribution of livestock grazing to MSA loss is, however, expected to diminish after 2030, in particular in Africa under the high-AKST scenario. Policies fostering agricultural intensification can reduce the overall pressure on rangeland biodiversity, but additional measures, addressing factors such as climate change and infrastructural development, are necessary to totally halt biodiversity loss.
Project description:Despite increasing calls for knowledge integration around the world, traditional knowledge is rarely used in formal, Western-science-based monitoring and resource management. To better understand indicators herders use and their relationship to researcher-measured indicators, we conducted in-depth field interviews with 26 herders in three ecological zones of Mongolia. We asked each herder to (1) assess the overall condition of three different sites located along a livestock-use gradient from their winter camp using a numeric scale, (2) describe the indicators they used in their assessment, and (3) explain what caused their pastures to remain healthy or become degraded. At each site, we collected field data on vegetation variables and compared these with herders' ratings and indicators using linear regression. We used classification and ordination to understand how herders' assessment scores related to plant community composition, and determine how well multivariate analysis of factors determining plant community composition aligned with herders' observations of factors causing rangeland change. Across all ecological zones, herders use indicators similar to those used in formal monitoring. Herders' assessment scores correlated significantly and positively with measured total foliar cover in all three ecological zones, and with additional measured variables in the steppe and desert steppe. Ordination revealed that herder assessment scores were correlated with the primary ordination axis in each zone, and the main factors driving plant community composition in each zone were the same as those identified by herders as the primary causes of rangeland change in that zone. These results show promise for developing integrated indicators and monitoring protocols and highlight the importance of developing a common language of monitoring terminology shared by herders, government monitoring agencies, and researchers. We propose a new model for integrating herder knowledge and participation into formal monitoring in Mongolia, with implications for rangelands and pastoral people globally. We suggest practical ways of involving herders in formal monitoring that have potential broad application for promoting local and indigenous people's participation in implementing international agreements such as the UN Convention to Combat Desertification and the UN Convention on Biological Diversity, both of which call for involvement of local people and indigenous/traditional knowledges.
Project description:Since the late 1970s, extensive livestock production in the high plateaus of Eastern Morocco, particularly of small ruminants, has been seriously threatened by climate change (CC). Negative impacts include reduction in rangeland forage production and water availability, increased poverty and inequality, and increased degradation of rangelands. Different categories of pastoralists have adopted different combinations of adaptation strategies, but the factors influencing adoption have not to date been investigated. This paper aims to identify the perceptions of pastoralists on CC, to analyze the adaptive responses of different wealth categories, and to determine the factors affecting the adoption of adaptation measures. The Mann-Kendall, Pettitt and Buishand tests and the standardized precipitation index were used to analyze the climate data. Data on adaptation were examined using the chi-square homogeneity test, Kruskal-Wallis test and binary logistic regression. The observed climate trends perfectly corroborated pastoralists' perceptions of significant changes in their local climate since the 1970s: a considerable decrease in annual rainfall and an increase in temperature and frequency of droughts and high winds. There were significant differences (Chi square = 7.603, p = 0.022, df = 2) between small, medium and large pastoralists in the frequency adoption of adaptation strategies, especially between small and large pastoralists (U statistic = 16.000, p = 0.009). The distribution of most adaptation actions also differed significantly between these two groups. Wealthier pastoralists have adopted a greater range of strategies, while poorer pastoralists have less diverse adaptation portfolios, and are more likely to adopt less advantageous strategies such as casual labor. The adoption of adaptation practices was significantly influenced by equipment, educational level, household size, herd size, training received, CC perceptions and agroecological setting. Public interventions to improve the adaptive capacity of pastoralists in Morocco's arid rangelands should be geared towards addressing these determinants and should prioritise small-scale pastoralists.
Project description:<h4>Background</h4> Forage nutritive value analysis is an essential indicator of rangeland status regarding degradation and livestock nutrient demand. Thus, it is used to maintain healthy and sustainable rangelands that can provide the livestock with sufficient quantity and quality of forage. This study is conducted with the aim of investigating the effects of grazing intensity combined with seasonal variation on the nutritive values of dominant grass species in the Teltele rangeland. <h4>Methods</h4> The studied area is classified into no-grazed, moderately grazed, and overgrazed plots based on the estimated potential carrying capacity. Sampling data is collected during both rainy and dry seasons. The collected forage samples are analyzed for concentrations of crude protein (CP), acid detergent organic fiber (ADF), neutral detergent fiber (NDF), acid detergent lignin (ADL), ash, dry matter digestibility (DMD), potential dry matter intake (DMI), and relative feed/forage value (RFV). <h4>Results</h4> The results show significant (P < 0.05) effects of both grazing intensity and season to grazing intensity interactions on all forage nutrient content concentrations across all grass species both within and between treatments. The recorded CP concentrations of all grass species are high in the overgrazed site and low at the no-grazed site, while the fiber concentration is high in NG and low in OG. RFV data also varies greatly, with high value recorded in OG in the rainy season and low value found in NG mainly during the dry season. As a result, it is recommended that moderate grazing should be practiced on the study site to maintain the quality and quantity of forage and to manage it in a sustainable manner.
Project description:Background The gradual conversion of rangelands into other land use types is one of the main challenges affecting the sustainable management of rangelands in Teltele. This study aimed to examine the changes, drivers, trends in land use and land cover (LULC), to determine the link between the Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI) and forage biomass and the associated impacts of forage biomass production dynamics on the Teltele rangelands in Southern Ethiopia. A Combination of remote sensing data, field interviews, discussion and observations data were used to examine the dynamics of LULC between 1992 and 2019 and forage biomass production. Results The result indicate that there is a marked increase in farm land (35.3%), bare land (13.8%) and shrub land (4.8%), while the reduction found in grass land (54.5%), wet land (69.3%) and forest land (10.5%). The larger change in land observed in both grassland and wetland part was observed during the period from 1995–2000 and 2015–2019, this is due to climate change impact (El-Niño) happened in Teltele rangeland during the year 1999 and 2016 respectively. The quantity of forage in different land use/cover types, grass land had the highest average amount of forage biomass of 2092.3 kg/ha, followed by wetland with 1231 kg/ha, forest land with 1191.3 kg/ha, shrub land with 180 kg/ha, agricultural land with 139.5 kg/ha and bare land with 58.1 kg/ha. Conclusions The significant linkage observed between NDVI and LULC change types (when a high NDVI value, the LULC changes also shows positive value or an increasing trend). In addition, NDVI value directly related to the greenness status of vegetation occurred on each LULC change types and its value directly linkage forage biomass production pattern with grassland land use types. 64.8% (grass land), 43.3% (agricultural land), 75.1% (forest land), 50.6% (shrub land), 80.5% (bare land) and 75.5% (wet land) more or higher dry biomass production in the wet season compared to the dry season.