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Providing evidence to improve practice

Individual study: The impact of livestock grazing on plant diversity: an analysis across dryland ecosystems and scales in southern Africa

Published source details

Hanke W., Böhner J., Dreber N., Jürgens N., Schmiedel U., Wesuls D. & Dengler J. (2014) The impact of livestock grazing on plant diversity: an analysis across dryland ecosystems and scales in southern Africa. Ecological Applications, 24, 1188-1203


This study is summarised as evidence for the intervention(s) shown on the right. The icon shows which synopsis it is relevant to.

Reduce number of livestock Shrubland and Heathland Conservation

A replicated, controlled, paired site, site comparison study in 2005–2009 in three karoo shrubland sites in Namibia and South Africa (Hanke et al. 2014) found that reducing livestock numbers increased plant cover in three of three sites and increased the number of plant species in one of three sites. In three of three sites, areas where livestock numbers were low had higher plant cover (13–39%) than areas with high livestock numbers (8–29%). In one of three sites plant species richness was higher in areas with low livestock numbers (15 species) than areas with high livestock numbers (12 species), while at the other two sites there was no significant difference in plant species richness (low grazing: 23–36 species, high grazing: 24–34 species). High and low livestock areas were separated by a fence. Vegetation cover was monitored in 2005–2009 using between sixteen and twenty 100 m2 plots in both areas with low and high livestock numbers.

(Summarised by Phil Martin)