Study

Effects of seasonal rest from cattle grazing on above-ground biomass production of native grasses of the 'Flood Pampa', Salado River Basin, Buenos Aires province, Argentina

  • Published source details Hidalgo L.G. & Cauhepe M.A. (1991) Effects of seasonal rest in aboveground biomass for a native grassland of the flood Pampa, Argentina. Journal of Range Management, 44, 471-474

Summary

The temperate ‘Flood Pampa’ (Buenos Aires province, east-central Argentina) covers approximately 100,000 km² about 80% of which is covered in natural grasslands. Cattle-grazing is widely practiced even though most natural grasslands have low forage production and forage is of poor quality. The current generally degraded grassland condition is attributed to over-grazing. Plants that grow during the winter are more affected by heavy grazing than spring growing species; summer growing species (preferentially grazed by cattle) have also declined. Seasonal rests from grazing have been suggested as a way of restoring degraded areas.

The study was conducted in a ‘B community’ (i.e. flat areas, hydromorphic soils, usually flooded in winter for 1 -2 months), one of the most prevalent in the region.
 
In a native pasture, three cattle grazing regimes were tested: spring-summer rest (November-January) aimed at favouring warm-season species; autumn rest (April- June) aimed at favouring cool-season species; and continuous grazing. Variable stocking rates, based on available forage were employed.
 
From October 1979 to August 1981, changes in above-ground biomass and grass composition were evaluated. Biomass was periodically sampled (vegetation cut to ground level and separated into dead and live components). Live biomass was separated into individual species.

Total above-ground biomass yield averaged 4,600 (± 445) kg/ha and 3,750 (± 120) kg/ha under the spring-summer rest regime during the first and second years, respectively. Warm-season species increased, mainly due to increases of dallisgrass Paspalum dilatatum and bluestem Bothriochloa laguroides.
 
Total above-ground biomass was 2,000 (± 170) kg/ha during the autumn rest regime; cool-season grasses (e.g. Poa spp. and Stipa spp.) increased.
 
In general, continuous grazing at a moderate intensity resulted in above-ground biomass of about 2,000 kg/ha. Contributions of warm-season and cool-season species remained unaltered; only the bunch grass, smutgrass Sporobolus indicus increased. Smut grass spreads in areas where soil has been compacted (e.g. by cattle trampling), it is tough, unpalatable and reduces pasture productivity.
 
Thus over the short duration of the study (2 years), grazing rest periods proved generally beneficial, and appropriately timed rest periods could help to restore degraded areas depauperate in cool- and/or warm-season grasses.
 
 
Note: If using or referring to this published study, please read and quote the original paper, this can be viewed at: https://www.uair.arizona.edu/holdings/journal/issue?r=http://jrm.library.arizona.edu/Volume44/Number5/

Output references

What Works in Conservation

What Works in Conservation provides expert assessments of the effectiveness of actions, based on summarised evidence, in synopses. Subjects covered so far include amphibians, birds, terrestrial mammals, forests, peatland and control of freshwater invasive species. More are in progress.

More about What Works in Conservation

Download free PDF or purchase
The Conservation Evidence Journal

The Conservation Evidence Journal

An online, free to publish in, open-access journal publishing results from research and projects that test the effectiveness of conservation actions.

Read the latest volume: Volume 18

Go to the CE Journal

Discover more on our blog

Our blog contains the latest news and updates from the Conservation Evidence team, the Conservation Evidence Journal, and our global partners in evidence-based conservation.


Who uses Conservation Evidence?

Meet some of the evidence champions

Endangered Landscape Programme Red List Champion - Arc Kent Wildlife Trust The Rufford Foundation Save the Frogs - Ghana Bern wood Supporting Conservation Leaders National Biodiversity Network Sustainability Dashboard Frog Life The international journey of Conservation - Oryx British trust for ornithology Cool Farm Alliance UNEP AWFA Butterfly Conservation People trust for endangered species Vincet Wildlife Trust