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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: Rangeland Research in the Chihuahuan Desert

Authors
item Estell, Richard
item Havstad, Kris
item Anderson, Dean
item Barrow, Jerry
item Peters, Debra
item Fredrickson, Ed - NEW MEXICO STATE UNIV
item Herrick, Jeffrey
item Whitford, Walter

Submitted to: New Mexico Livestock Research Briefs and Cattle Growers Short Course
Publication Type: Research Notes
Publication Acceptance Date: March 17, 1999
Publication Date: March 17, 1999
Citation: ESTELL, R.E., HAVSTAD, K.M., ANDERSON, D.M., BARROW, J.R., PETERS, D.C., FREDRICKSON, E.L., HERRICK, J.E., WHITFORD, W.G. RANGELAND RESEARCH IN THE CHIHUAHUAN DESERT. NEW MEXICO LIVESTOCK RESEARCH BRIEFS AND CATTLE GROWERS' SHORT COURSE. 1999. P. 71-76.

Technical Abstract: The mission of the Jornada Experimental Range is to develop new technologies for the management and remediation of desert rangelands. Effects of stressors such as drought, soil nutrient depletion and shrub competition on grassland/shrubland ecosystems are being examined. A study is in progress to examine responses of desert ecosystems to fire and the influence of cattle grazing during post-fire recovery on these responses. Several plant and soil-based indicators of ecosystem function have been identified that are being incorporated into a manual for use in monitoring rangelands. Low input/trigger site strategies are being developed for remediation of rangelands. Experiments are underway to evaluate application of dairy manure on different plant communities and effects of portable shade on cattle distribution. A study conducted in which lambs were reared in pens with slatted or solid panels indicated lambs reared in simple environments had difficulty learning new food seeking behaviors and were more stressed in new environments. We have begun to examine the use of fluorometry to improve the accuracy and speed of diet analysis. Preliminary research indicated it could be used to distinguish among fecal samples from sheep consuming simple diets. We are studying the relationship of secondary chemistry of desert shrubs and livestock herbivory. Two of the eleven terpenes that were negatively related to tarbush intake in previous studies decreased intake of alfalfa by lambs. Determining which compounds deter herbivory will help establish methods to alter diet selectivity by livestock.

Last Modified: 10/25/2014
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