Grassland rehabilitation through re-designing livestock management systems

Guodong Han, Zhongwu Wang, Li Zhiguo, Mengli Zhao, David Kemp, David Michalk, Kris M. Havstad

Research output: Book chapter/Published conference paperConference paperpeer-review


Grasslands are one of the most important land types supplying critical ecosystem services including feed for livestock grazing. They occupy ~54% of the world’s ice-free land surface. China contains the third largest area of grassland in the world, ~400 M ha, ~40% of China’s land surface. Chinese grasslands are severely degraded primarily due to overgrazing, which contributes to local poverty because of poor livestock production. To both recover the degraded grassland and to enhance the local herders’ income, a large farm-scale experiment was conducted in a desert steppe of Inner Mongolia, China from 2007 to 2012. We used a baseline survey, production models, and extension with government and private companies to test a redesigned grassland livestock management system. The new system employed summer grazing, winter greenhouse shed feeding, a reduction of overall stocking rate, lambing in summer (July), livestock infrastructure structure improvements, use of animal nutrient supplements, and incorporating crossbred Dorper and Mongolian sheep. This system showed positive advantages on animal production and household net income and transformed livestock production from a survival to a production enterprise. Of critical additional importance was that grassland rehabilitation occurred with the new management system, albeit slower than the more immediate positive changes to animal performance and herder net incomes. The integration of science, government and industry were key for this successful large-scale farm experiment.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationIGC 2013
Subtitle of host publicationRevitalising grasslands to sustain our communities
EditorsKM Broadfoot KM Broadfoot
Place of PublicationAustralia
PublisherCSIRO Publishing
Number of pages6
ISBN (Electronic)9781742565439
Publication statusPublished - 2013
Event22nd International Grasslands Congress - Sydney, Australia
Duration: 15 Sept 201319 Sept 2013 (Conference proceedings)


Conference22nd International Grasslands Congress
Abbreviated titleRevitalising Grasslands to Sustain our Communities
Internet address


Dive into the research topics of 'Grassland rehabilitation through re-designing livestock management systems'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this