Reduced grazing pressure delivers production and environmental benefits for the typical steppe of north China

Yingjun Zhang, Ding Huang, Warwick B. Badgery, David Kemp, Wenqing Chen, Xiaoya Wang, Nan Liu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

20 Citations (Scopus)
18 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

Degradation by overgrazing is common in many areas of the world and optimising grassland functions depends upon finding suitable grazing tactics. This four-year study on the northern China steppe investigated combinations of rest, moderate or heavy grazing pressure early in the summer growing season, then moderate or heavy grazing in the mid and late season. Results showed that moderate grazing pressure (~550 sheep equivalent (SE) grazing days ha−1 year−1) gave the optimal balance between maintaining a productive and diverse grassland, a profitable livestock system, and greenhouse gas mitigation. Further analyses identified that more conservative stocking (~400 SE grazing days ha−1 year−1) maintained a desirable Leymus chinensis composition and achieved a higher live weight gain of sheep. Early summer rest best maintained a desirable grassland composition, but had few other benefits and reduced incomes. These findings demonstrate that reducing grazing pressure to half the current district stocking rates can deliver improved ecosystem services (lower greenhouse gases and improved grassland composition) while sustaining herder incomes.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-11
Number of pages11
JournalScientific Reports
Volume5
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2015

Fingerprint

China
Pressure
Sheep
Gases
Livestock
Weight Gain
Ecosystem
Grassland

Cite this

Zhang, Yingjun ; Huang, Ding ; Badgery, Warwick B. ; Kemp, David ; Chen, Wenqing ; Wang, Xiaoya ; Liu, Nan. / Reduced grazing pressure delivers production and environmental benefits for the typical steppe of north China. In: Scientific Reports. 2015 ; Vol. 5. pp. 1-11.
@article{62a8b15592a54d5294c69918f982a96e,
title = "Reduced grazing pressure delivers production and environmental benefits for the typical steppe of north China",
abstract = "Degradation by overgrazing is common in many areas of the world and optimising grassland functions depends upon finding suitable grazing tactics. This four-year study on the northern China steppe investigated combinations of rest, moderate or heavy grazing pressure early in the summer growing season, then moderate or heavy grazing in the mid and late season. Results showed that moderate grazing pressure (~550 sheep equivalent (SE) grazing days ha−1 year−1) gave the optimal balance between maintaining a productive and diverse grassland, a profitable livestock system, and greenhouse gas mitigation. Further analyses identified that more conservative stocking (~400 SE grazing days ha−1 year−1) maintained a desirable Leymus chinensis composition and achieved a higher live weight gain of sheep. Early summer rest best maintained a desirable grassland composition, but had few other benefits and reduced incomes. These findings demonstrate that reducing grazing pressure to half the current district stocking rates can deliver improved ecosystem services (lower greenhouse gases and improved grassland composition) while sustaining herder incomes.",
author = "Yingjun Zhang and Ding Huang and Badgery, {Warwick B.} and David Kemp and Wenqing Chen and Xiaoya Wang and Nan Liu",
note = "Includes bibliographical references.",
year = "2015",
doi = "10.1038/srep16434",
language = "English",
volume = "5",
pages = "1--11",
journal = "Scientific Reports",
issn = "2045-2322",
publisher = "Nature Publishing Group",

}

Reduced grazing pressure delivers production and environmental benefits for the typical steppe of north China. / Zhang, Yingjun; Huang, Ding; Badgery, Warwick B.; Kemp, David; Chen, Wenqing; Wang, Xiaoya; Liu, Nan.

In: Scientific Reports, Vol. 5, 2015, p. 1-11.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

TY - JOUR

T1 - Reduced grazing pressure delivers production and environmental benefits for the typical steppe of north China

AU - Zhang, Yingjun

AU - Huang, Ding

AU - Badgery, Warwick B.

AU - Kemp, David

AU - Chen, Wenqing

AU - Wang, Xiaoya

AU - Liu, Nan

N1 - Includes bibliographical references.

PY - 2015

Y1 - 2015

N2 - Degradation by overgrazing is common in many areas of the world and optimising grassland functions depends upon finding suitable grazing tactics. This four-year study on the northern China steppe investigated combinations of rest, moderate or heavy grazing pressure early in the summer growing season, then moderate or heavy grazing in the mid and late season. Results showed that moderate grazing pressure (~550 sheep equivalent (SE) grazing days ha−1 year−1) gave the optimal balance between maintaining a productive and diverse grassland, a profitable livestock system, and greenhouse gas mitigation. Further analyses identified that more conservative stocking (~400 SE grazing days ha−1 year−1) maintained a desirable Leymus chinensis composition and achieved a higher live weight gain of sheep. Early summer rest best maintained a desirable grassland composition, but had few other benefits and reduced incomes. These findings demonstrate that reducing grazing pressure to half the current district stocking rates can deliver improved ecosystem services (lower greenhouse gases and improved grassland composition) while sustaining herder incomes.

AB - Degradation by overgrazing is common in many areas of the world and optimising grassland functions depends upon finding suitable grazing tactics. This four-year study on the northern China steppe investigated combinations of rest, moderate or heavy grazing pressure early in the summer growing season, then moderate or heavy grazing in the mid and late season. Results showed that moderate grazing pressure (~550 sheep equivalent (SE) grazing days ha−1 year−1) gave the optimal balance between maintaining a productive and diverse grassland, a profitable livestock system, and greenhouse gas mitigation. Further analyses identified that more conservative stocking (~400 SE grazing days ha−1 year−1) maintained a desirable Leymus chinensis composition and achieved a higher live weight gain of sheep. Early summer rest best maintained a desirable grassland composition, but had few other benefits and reduced incomes. These findings demonstrate that reducing grazing pressure to half the current district stocking rates can deliver improved ecosystem services (lower greenhouse gases and improved grassland composition) while sustaining herder incomes.

U2 - 10.1038/srep16434

DO - 10.1038/srep16434

M3 - Article

C2 - 26553566

VL - 5

SP - 1

EP - 11

JO - Scientific Reports

JF - Scientific Reports

SN - 2045-2322

ER -