Agroforestry Systems

, Volume 34, Issue 1, pp 67–82 | Cite as

Grazing in a California silvopastoral system: effects of defoliation season, intensity, and frequency on deerbrush, Ceanothus integerrimus Hook. & Arn.

  • L. Huntsinger


When understory species that suppress tree growth are preferred by livestock to tree species, selective herbivory has practical application for forest or woodland management as part of a silvopastoral agroforestry system. Results of two studies of the prescriptive application of selective grazing designed to suppress growth of a common understory shrub, deerbrush (Ceanothus integerrimus Hook. & Am.), to favor growth of conifer species are presented. Grazing for vegetation manipulation requires the same information needed to apply any chemical or mechanical method: knowledge of the effective timing, frequency, and intensity of application, and the selectivity of impact. The first study, a two-year series of grazing trials, examined the degree of cattle preference for deerbrush as compared to conifers, and response of deerbrush to grazing on a forest site. The second, a three-year study based on grazing trial results, used clipping to examine the specifics of deerbrush response to patterns of herbivory. Deerbrush was highly preferred by cattle in the grazing trials. Even at 90% utilization of the shrubs, no conifers were browsed. High degrees of utilization did not suppress shrub growth in the grazing trials. The clipping study found deerbrush significantly responsive to frequency and intensity of defoliation (P < 0.01), but not to season of use (P >0.1). High intensity, frequent grazing is required to suppress the shrub. Intermediate prescriptions can be used to manage for various combinations of wildlife, timber, or forage-related objectives. These results and methods are applicable to any silvopastoral system where prescriptive grazing is used in conjunction with tree crops.

Key words

forest grazing vegetation management forest regeneration 


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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1996

Authors and Affiliations

  • L. Huntsinger
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Environmental Resources/Veterinary MedicineUniversity of NevadaRenoUSA

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