Advertisement

Journal of Mountain Science

, Volume 15, Issue 4, pp 685–694 | Cite as

Impact of grazing on soil, vegetation and ewe production performances in a semi-arid rangeland

  • Muhammad Islam
  • Abdul Razzaq
  • Shamim Gul
  • Sarfraz Ahmad
  • Taj Muhammad
  • Sawsan Hassan
  • Barbara Rischkowsky
  • M. N. M. Ibrahim
  • Mounir Louhaichi
Article

Abstract

Controlled grazing is considered a good management strategy to maintain or increase the live weight of livestock and to reduce vegetation degradation of rangelands. The present study investigated soil characteristics, aboveground vegetation biomass dynamics and controlled grazinginduced changes in the live weight of local ewes in the semi-arid rangeland of Ahmadun, Ziarat, Balochistan province of Pakistan. An area of 115 ha was protected from livestock grazing in April 2014. In June 2015, soil characteristics within 0-30 cm depth i.e. soil organic matter (SOM), mineral nitrogen, pH and texture in controlled and uncontrolled grazing sites were assessed. Aboveground vegetation biomass measured in early (June) and late summer (August) in 2015 and 2016. The nutritional value i.e. crude protein, phosphorus (P), neutral detergent fiber (NDF), acid detergent fiber (ADF), calcium (Ca), magnesium (Mg) and potassium (K) of dominant plant species were assessed at the beginning of experiment in 2015. Vegetation cover of controlled and uncontrolled grazing sites was also measured during the two years of the study period using the VegMeasure software. From June to November in 2015 and 2016, controlled and uncontrolled livestock grazing sites were grazed on a daily basis by local ewes with a stocking rate of 2 and 1 head ha-1 respectively. Results reveal that the organic matter contents of coarse-textured, slightly alkaline soil of the study site were in the range of 9.4 - 17.6 g kg-1 soil and showed a strong positive correlation with aboveground vegetation biomass. The biomass of plants was 56.5% and 33% greater at controlled than uncontrolled grazing site in 2015 and 2016 respectively and plant cover was also higher at controlled than uncontrolled grazing site in both years. The nutrient contents were significantly (P<0.05) lower in grasses than shrubs. In both years, the controlled grazing increased the weight gain of ewes about two folds compared to the uncontrolled grazing. The results indicate that controlled grazing improved the vegetation biomass production and small ruminant productivity.

Keywords

Grazing exclosure Soil organic matter Vegetation cover VegMeasure 

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Notes

Acknowledgements

This study was conducted within the framework of collaborative research between the International Center for Agricultural Research in the Dry Areas (ICARDA) and International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) which was supported by the USAID under Agriculture Innovation Program (AIP) Pakistan. This work was also supported by the ICARDA and the CGIAR Research Program on Livestock (CRP Livestock). We thank the Forest and wildlife department, Govt. of Balochistan and all the staff of Ziarat Division who collaborated in setting up the experiment.

References

  1. Ahmad S, Islam M (2011) DarkoMatovic (ed.), Rangeland Productivity and Improvement Potential in Highlands of Balochistan, Pakistan. Biomass-Detection, Production and Usage. ISBN: 978–953–307–492–4, In Tech. pp 289–304.Google Scholar
  2. AhmadS, Gul S, Achakzai AKK, et al. (2010) Seedling growth response of Seriphidium quettense to water stress and nonwater stress conditions. Phyton International Journal of Experimental Botany 79: 19–23.Google Scholar
  3. Ahmad S, Gul S, Islam M, et al. (2007) Seed dispersal and soil seed bank of Seriphidium quettens (ASTERACEAE) in highland Balochistan, Pakistan. Journal of Botanical Research. Inst. Texas 1: 569–575.Google Scholar
  4. Association of Official Analytical Chemists (AOAC) (1990) Official methods of analysis. 15th edition U.S.A.Google Scholar
  5. Bailey DW, Brown JR (2011) Rotational grazing systems and livestock grazing behavior in shrub-dominated semi-arid and arid rangelands. Rangeland Ecology and Management 64: 1–9. https://doi.org/10.2111/REM-D–09–00184.1CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Briske D, Nathan F, Sayre L, et al. (2011) Origin, persistence, and resolution of the rotational grazing debate: Integrating human dimensions into rangeland research. Rangeland Ecology and Management 64: 325–3341. https://doi.org/10.2111/REM-D–10–00084.1CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Catling PM, McElroy AR, Spicer KW (1994) Potential forage value of some eastern Canadian sedges (Cypeaceae: Carex). Journal of Range Management 47: 226–230.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Craft CB, Seneca ED, Broome SW (1991) Loss on ignition and kjeldahl digestion for estimating organic carbon and total nitrogen in estuarine marsh soils: calibration with dry combustion. Estuaries 14: 175–179.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Davies J, Poulsen L, Schulte-Herbrüggen B, et al. (2012) Conserving Dryland Biodiversity. Global Drylands Initiative, IUCN, Nairobi, 84 pp.Google Scholar
  10. Enri SR, Probo M, Farruggia A, et al. (2017) A biodiversityfriendly rotational grazing system enhancing flower-visiting insect assemblages while maintaining animal and grassland productivity. Agriculture, Ecosystems and Environment 241: 1–10. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.agee.2017.02.030CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Estefan G, Sommer R, Ryan J (2013) Methods of Soil, Plant, and Water Analysis: A manual for the West Asia and North Africa region. Third Edition, International Center for Agricultural Research in Dry Areas (ICARDA) Box 114/5055, Beirut, Lebanon.Google Scholar
  12. Fallahzadi J, Hajabbasi MA (2011) Soil organic matter status changes with cultivation of overgrazed pastures in semi-dry west central Iran. International Journal of Soil Science 6: 114–123. https://doi.org/10.3923/ijss.2011.114.123CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. FAO (1983) Report of the assistance to rangeland and livestock development survey in Balochistan. TCP/PAK 0107, FAO Technical Cooperation Program, Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations, PakistanGoogle Scholar
  14. Gamoun M, Tarhouni M, Belgacem A, et al. (2010) Effects of grazing and trampling on primary production and soil surface in North African rangelands. Ekologia (Bratislava) 29: 219–226. https://doi.org/10.4149/ekol_2010_02_219CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Gamoun M, Hanchi B (2014) Natural vegetation cover dynamic under grazing-rotation managements in desert rangelands of Tunisia. Arid Ecosystems 4: 277–284. https://doi.org/10.1134/S2079096114040076CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Grigoli AD, Todar M, Miceli GD, et al. (2012) Effects of continuous and rotational grazing of different forage species on ewe milk production. Small Ruminant Research 106: 29–36. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.smallrumres.2012.04.030CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Herrick JE, Van Zee JW, McCord SE, et al. (2015) Monitoring Manual of Grassland, Shrubland and Savanna Ecosystems.2nd Edition. USDa-ARS Jornda Experimental Range Las Cruces, New Mexico.Google Scholar
  18. Holechek JL (1991) Chihuahuan desert rangeland, livestock grazing, and sustainability. Rangelands 13: 115–120.Google Scholar
  19. Holechek JL, Galt D, Joseph J, et al. (2003) Moderate and light cattle grazing effects on Chihuahuan desert rangelands. Journal of Range Management 56: 133–139.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Wang JP, Wang XJ, Zhang J (2013) Evaluating loss-on-ignition method for determinations of soil organic and inorganic carbon in arid soils of northwestern China. Pedosphere 23: 593–599. https://doi.org/10.1016/S1002–0160(13)60052–1CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Kristensen ES (1988) Influence of defoliation regime on herbage production and characteristics of intake by dairy cows as affected by grazing intensity. Grass and Forage Science 43: 239–251.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Louhaichi M, Salkini AK, Petersen SL (2009) Effect of small ruminant grazing on the plant community characteristics of semi-arid Mediterranean ecosystems. International Journal of Agriculture and Biology 11: 681–689.Google Scholar
  23. Louhaichi M, Johnson MD, Woerz AL, et al. (2010) Digital charting technique for monitoring rangeland vegetation cover at local scale. International Journal of Agriculture and Biology 12: 406–410.Google Scholar
  24. Louhaichi M, Hassan S, Clifton K, et al. (2017) A reliable and non-destructive method for estimating forage shrub cover and biomass in arid environments using digital vegetation charting technique. Agroforestry Systems 91: 1–12. https://doi. org/10.1007/s10457–017–0079–4CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. National Research Council (NRC) (2007) Nutrient requirements of Small Ruminants: Sheep, Goats, Cervids and new world Camelids. National Academy Press, Washington, D.C. pp 256–266.Google Scholar
  26. Oomen RJ, Ewert F, Snyman HA (2016) Modelling rangeland productivity in response to degradation in a semi-arid climate. Ecological modelling 322: 54–70. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ecolmodel.2015.11.001CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. O'Reagain P, Bushell J, Holloway C, et al. (2009) Managing for rainfall variability: effect of grazing strategy on cattle production in a dry tropical savanna. Animal Production Science 49: 85–99. https://doi.org/10.1071/EA07187CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Belgacem A, Louhaichi M (2013) The vulnerability of native rangeland plant species to global climate change in the West Asia and North African regions. Climatic Change 119: 451–463. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10584–013–0701-zCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Pacaldo RS, Volk TA, Briggs RD (2014) No significant differences in soil organic carbon contents along a chronosequence of shrub willow biomass crop fields. Biomass and Bioenergy 58: 136–142. https://doi.org/10.1016/j. biombioe.2013.10.018CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Qasim S, Gul S, Shah MH,et al. (2017) Influence of grazing exclosure on vegetation biomass and soil quality. International Soil and Water Conservation Research 5: 62–68. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.iswcr.2017.01.004CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Reeves MC, Moreno AL, Bagne KE, et al. (2014) Estimating climate change effects on net primary production of rangelands in the United States. Climatic Change 126: 429–442. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10584–014–1235–8CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Robertson S (2011) Direct estimation of organic matter by loss on ignition: methods. Property of SFU Soil Science Lab. Available online at: ttps://www.sfu.ca/soils/lab_documents/Estimation_Of_Organic_Matter_By_LOI.pdf https://doi.org/10.1016/S1002–0160(11)60149–5Google Scholar
  33. Sanjari G, Ghadiri H, Ciesiolka CA, et al. (2008) Comparing the effects of continuous and time-controlled grazing systems on soil characteristics in Southeast Queensland. Soil Research 46: 348–358. https://doi.org/10.1071/SR07220CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Shah M (2016) Influence of Grazing Exclusion on Plant Community Composition, Fecundity of Dominant Plant Species and Soil Seed Bank of Hazarganji Chiltan Mountain, Balochistan, Pakistan. MPhil thesis, Sardar Bahadur Khan Women’s University, Quetta, Balochistan, Pakistan.Google Scholar
  35. Sims GK, Ellsworth TR, Mulvaney RL (1995) Microscale determination of inorganic nitrogen in water and soil extract. Communications in Soil Science and Plant Analysis 26: 303–316. https://doi.org/10.1080/00103629509369298CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Teague WR, Dowhower SL, Baker SA, et al. (2011) Grazing management impacts on vegetation, soil biota and soil chemical, physical and hydrological properties in tall grass prairie. Agriculture, Ecosystems and Environment 141: 310–322. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.agee.2011.03.009CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Trott H, Wachendorf M, Ingwersen B, et al. (2004) Performance and environmental effects of forage production on sandy soils: I. Impact of defoliation system and nitrogen input on performance and N balance of grassland. Grass and Forage Science 59: 41–55.Google Scholar
  38. UN (2011) Global Drylands: a UN System-wide Response. Prepared by the United Nations (UN) Environment Management Group (EMG).United Nations.Google Scholar
  39. Van Oudenhoven APE, Veerkamp CJ, Alkemade R, et al. (2015) Effects of different management regimes on soil erosion and surface runoff in semi-arid to sub-humid rangelands. Journal of Arid Environments 121: 100–111. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jaridenv.2015.05.015CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Science Press, Institute of Mountain Hazards and Environment, CAS and Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.International Center for Agricultural Research in Dry Areas (ICARDA), South AsiaIslamabadPakistan
  2. 2.Animal Sciences DivisionPakistan Agricultural Research CouncilIslamabadPakistan
  3. 3.Botany DepartmentUniversity of Balochistan QuettaQuettaPakistan
  4. 4.Department of Natural Resource SciencesMcGill UniversityMontrealCanada
  5. 5.Natural Resources DivisionPakistan Agricultural Research CouncilIslamabadPakistan
  6. 6.Forest & Wildlife DepartmentQuetta BalochistanPakistan
  7. 7.International Center for Agricultural Research in Dry Areas (ICARDA)AmmanJordan
  8. 8.International Center for Agricultural Research in Dry Areas (ICARDA)SSA, ILRI campusAddis AbabaEthiopia
  9. 9.International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI)IslamabadPakistan

Personalised recommendations