The Rangeland Journal The Rangeland Journal Society
Rangeland ecology and management

The Rangeland Journal

The Rangeland Journal

The Rangeland Journal publishes original work on the biophysical, social, cultural, economic, and policy influences affecting rangeland use and management. Read more about the journalMore

Editor-in-Chief: Paul Novelly

Current Issue

The Rangeland Journal

Volume 39 Number 2 2017

In Australia’s tropical savannas, infrequent fires cause a flush of soil nutrients and an increase in seed quality of annual grasses, upon which the endangered Gouldian finch relies during breeding. By contrast, frequent fires reduce seed quality, causing finches to select breeding sites that have been recently but infrequently burnt. Fine-grained patch-mosaic infrequent burns are essential to maintain the seed nutrition required by the Gouldian finch.

RJ16016Impala, Aepyceros melampus: does browse quality influence their use of sites originally utilised as short-duration kraals in a southern African savanna?

Rangarirai Huruba, Peter J. Mundy, Allan Sebata, Gianetta K. Purchase and Duncan N. MacFadyen
pp. 113-121

This study investigated the use of sites originally utilised as short-duration cattle kraals by impala. Impala use of these sites was influenced by the quality of the woody plants resprouts. The resprouts had higher foliar nutrients and lower condensed tannins concentrations than the surrounding vegetation.

RJ16068Plant species selection by sheep in semi-natural dry grasslands extensively grazed in the south-western Italian Alps

Marco Pittarello, Alessandra Gorlier, Giampiero Lombardi and Michele Lonati
pp. 123-131

Feeding preferences of sheep were assessed in abandoned, semi-natural, dry grasslands by using monitoring with GPS collars under extensive grazing management. Distance to night pens, gentler terrain, and water troughs affected sheep behaviour. Sheep exerted a marked selection among single plant species, and stocking density affected the consumption of specific plant species.

Plateau pika creates disturbances on grassland vegetation and soil. This study investigates the response of plant productivity and soil nutrients to plateau pika disturbance, and has found that plateau pika disturbance alter the contribution of some important soil nutrients and moisture to plant biomass, and the optimal disturbance intensities were beneficial to alpine meadow. These results are beneficial to manage plateau pika in the alpine meadow ecosystem.

RJ16077Managing rain-filled wetlands for carbon sequestration: a synthesis

Susanne C. Watkins, Darren S. Baldwin, Helen P. Waudby and Sarah E. M. A. Ning
pp. 145-152

Rain-filled wetlands (wetlands that only fill through rainfall are not connected to other waterbodies) are moist environments in typically dry arid- and semiarid zones. As carbon cycling is influenced by moisture content of soil, these wetlands could be locally important sites for carbon (C) storage and capture. We identify threats to these important zones, suggest possible management actions and indicate areas where further work is required to understand the role of these wetlands in C capture and storage.

RJ16020Sensitivity of soil organic carbon to grazing management in the semi-arid rangelands of south-eastern Australia

S. E. Orgill, C. M. Waters, G. Melville, I. Toole, Y. Alemseged and W. Smith
pp. 153-167

The role of grazing management in rangeland soil carbon sequestration is unclear despite the considerable climate mitigation potential. Herein we show that the management of grazing intensity through total grazing pressure control, which incorporates long periods of rest, increased the stock of organic carbon by 0.6% or 8.34 t ha–1 (0–0.3 m) for only some parts of the landscape, such as the ridges, but decreased or had no effect in other parts of the landscape. Increases in carbon stocks were consistently associated with higher ground cover (litter and perennial) and proximity to trees.

RJ16007Effects of grazing intensity on organic carbon stock characteristics in Stipa breviflora desert steppe vegetation soil systems

Heyun Wang, Zhi Dong, Jianying Guo, Hongli Li, Jinrong Li, Guodong Han and Xinchuang Chen
pp. 169-177

Grassland ecosystems play an essential role in the global carbon cycle and balance. Light grazing and moderate grazing intensities were beneficial for soil nutrient accumulation in the desert steppe. This is important to reveal the mechanisms of grazing impact on carbon processes in the desert steppe, and can provide a theoretical basis for conservation and utilisation of grassland resources.

RJ15121Pastureland transfer as a livelihood adaptation strategy for herdsmen: a case study of Xilingol, Inner Mongolia

Meiyan Zhang, Lizhong Zhang, Yaoqi Zhang, Yecheng Xu and Jiquan Chen
pp. 179-187

In response to climate change, socioeconomic transformation and increasing population pressure, it is critical to let pastureland transfer among households for more efficient use of the limited resources. Such a market mechanism would encourage land transfer for better use, consolidate and improve the scale of the economy, as well as facilitate labour division and population reallocation. Due to the lost mobility of nomadic livelihoods, the need for a new market mechanism is urgently needed. This study attempts to examine and understand pastureland transfer among pastoral households in Xilingol, Inner Mongolia, China. We aim to understand how pastureland transfers are driven, what factors affect land transfer, and how transfer is used as an adaptive strategy for nomadic livelihood.

This paper analyses how Boran pastoralists cope with various socio-environmental risks under NGO interventions in southern Ethiopia. Changes in pastoralists’ pursuit of livelihoods facilitated alternative adaptation, but such changes risked exacerbating rangeland degradation, reinforcing dependence on external aid, and weakening indigenous institutions. More conscious interventions are needed to mitigate risks without negatively influencing the wellbeing of human subjects and ecosystems.

RJ16120Disturbance-dependent invasion of the woody weed, Calotropis procera, in Australian rangelands

Enock O. Menge, Sean M. Bellairs and Michael J. Lawes
pp. 201-211

Rubber bush (Calotropis procera) seeds are wind dispersed but may also be dispersed by animals. Rubber bush is a poor competitor of grass species and was unable to invade intact Mitchell grasslands. Seedling emergence increased dramatically with increasing levels of disturbance in experiments that simulated cattle grazing and trampling effects. Seedlings established mainly if buried in the top soil by disturbance. In a glasshouse competition experiment pitting rubber bush against barley Mitchell grass, the shoots and roots of rubber bush displayed a greater relative reduction in biomass in the mixture (competitive environment) compared with the monoculture and to Mitchell grass under the same conditions. Our results demonstrate that the spread of rubber bush is aided by disturbance and may be arrested by implementing a range of management practices that minimise disturbances to grass cover.

RJ16088A survey of swainsonine content in Swainsona species

Daniel Cook, Dale R. Gardner, Kevin D. Welch and Jeremy G. Allen
pp. 213-218

Some Swainsona species are reported to be toxic to livestock due to the toxin swainsonine but a systematic screen using modern chemical instrumentation is lacking. Swainsonine was detected in 9 of 41 species screened using modern instrumentation, eight of which had not been determined to contain swainsonine previously. This dataset will be a valuable tool for risk assessment and diagnostic purposes and highlights the utility of herbarium specimens in phytochemical studies.

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Rangeland function determination at the sub-basin scale can facilitate and accelerate rangeland management. This study examined the potential of remotely-sensed landscape function indices in semi-arid rangelands in Iran. Our findings highlight that these indices could determine rangeland functionality in sub-basins with different levels of degradation, therefore, they can be used in combination with field methods in future decision-making about rangeland landscapes.

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