Rangelands, Drylands & Pastoralism

Rangelands, Drylands & Pastoralism

Rangelands are grasslands, shrublands, woodlands, wetlands, and deserts that are grazed by domestic livestock or wild animals. Types of rangelands include tallgrass and shortgrass prairies, desert grasslands and shrublands, woodlands, savannas, chaparrals, steppes, and tundras.

Pastoralism is the branch of agriculture concerned with the raising of livestock. "Pastoralism" generally has a mobile aspect, moving the herds in search of fresh pasture and water (in contrast to pastoral farming, in which non-nomadic farmers grow crops and improve pastures for their livestock). 
 

Drylands conventionally are defined in terms of water stress: as terrestrial areas where the mean annual rainfall (including snow, fog, hail, etc) is lower than the total amount of water evaporated to the atmosphere.

Sources: GlobalRangelands.org & Wikipedia & IUCN  

Peer-reviewed publication
October 2013

Agricultural expansion has eliminated a high proportion of native land cover and severely degraded remaining native vegetation. Managers must determine where degradation is severe enough to merit restoration action, and what action, if any, is necessary. We report on grassland degraded by multiple factors, including grazing, soil disturbance, and exotic plant species introduced in response to agriculture management. We use a multivariate method to categorize plant communities by degradation state based on floristic and biophysical degradation associated with historical land use.

Peer-reviewed publication
July 2013

Residents of Southern Africa depend on rangeland for food, livelihoods, and ecosystem services. Sustainable management of rangeland ecosystems requires attention to interactive effects of fire and grazing in a changing climate. It is essential to compare rangeland responses to fire and grazing across space and through time to understand the effects of rangeland management practices on biodiversity and ecosystem services in an era of global climate change.

Peer-reviewed publication
July 2017

Defining rangelands as anthromes enabled Ellis and Ramankutty (2008) to conclude that more than three-quarters of Earth’s land is anthropogenic; without rangelands, this figure would have been less than half. They classified all lands grazed by domestic livestock as rangelands, provided that human population densities were low; similar areas without livestock were excluded and classified instead as ‘wildlands’. This paper examines the empirical basis and conceptual assumptions of defining and categorizing rangelands in this fashion.

Peer-reviewed publication
July 2016

Land use—with a special focus on agriculture—is increasingly influenced by globalization and external driving forces, causing farmers to seek opportunities to develop efficient, large-scale production systems.[...]

Peer-reviewed publication
October 2015

The socio-ecological system dominated by pastureland in the Asteroussia Mountains (Crete, Greece) was analyzed over a long time interval (1945–2010) to identify the most relevant system’s characteristics and changes. Vegetation cover and land-uses have been quantified by analyzing aerial photographs exploring the whole study period. Soil characteristics have been assessed by carrying out an extensive field survey for the last reference year (2010) and by estimating the average soil loss for the past period using the PESERA soil erosion model validated by field measurements.

Peer-reviewed publication
October 2014

In this study, a land use/land cover change analysis method was developed to examine patterns of land use/land cover conversions of cropland to urban uses and conversions of rangeland to cropland uses in the United States (US) Midwest region. We used the US 2001 and 2006 National Land Cover Datasets (NLCD) for our spatial analyses of these conversion trends.

Peer-reviewed publication
October 2014

In a modeling study we examine vulnerability of income from mobile (transhumant) pastoralism and sedentary pastoralism to reduced mean annual precipitation (MAP) and droughts. The study is based on empirical data of a 3410 km2 research region in southern, semi-arid Morocco. The land use decision model integrates a meta-model of the Environmental Policy Integrated Climate (EPIC) simulator to depict perennial and annual forage plant development. It also includes livestock dynamics and forward-looking decision making under uncertain weather.

Peer-reviewed publication
October 2015

Soil loss is not limited to change from forest or woodland to other land uses/covers. It may occur when there is agricultural land-use/cover modification or conversion. Soil loss may influence loss of carbon from the soil, hence implication on greenhouse gas emission. Changing land use could be considered actually or potentially successful in adapting to climate change, or may be considered maladaptation if it creates environmental degradation.

Peer-reviewed publication
July 2014

Traditional agrosilvopastoral systems have been an important component of the farming systems and livelihoods of thousands of ethnic minority people in the uplands of Mainland Southeast Asia. Drawing on a combination of qualitative and participatory inquiries in nine ethnic minority communities, this study emphasizes the complex articulation of local farmers’ knowledge which has been so far excluded from governmental development and conservation policies in the northern uplands of Thailand and Laos.

Cover photo
Policy Papers & Briefs
May 2017

In this communiqué, the undersigned Non-State Actors (civil society, pastoralist, research, private, farmers’ unions and other stakeholders) champion a call to action and outline recommendations on livestock policy advocacy strategies that take into consideration the unique conditions and opportunities of the livestock sector development in Tanzania