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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: Rangeland Research in the Chihuahuan Desert

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

Submitted to: New Mexico Livestock Research Briefs and Cattle Growers Short Course
Publication Type: Research Notes
Publication Acceptance Date: March 15, 2000
Publication Date: March 30, 2000
Citation: ESTELL, R.E., ANDERSON, D.M., BARROW, J.R., FREDRICKSON, E., HAVSTAD, K.M., HERRICK, J.E., PETERS, D.C. RANGELAND RESEARCH IN THE CHIHUAHUAN DESERT. NEW MEXICO LIVESTOCK RESEARCH BRIEFS AND CATTLE GROWERS SHORT COURSE. 2000. P. 80-81.

Technical Abstract: The mission of the Jornada Experimental Range is to develop new technologies for the management and remediation of desert rangelands. We are developing a manual for monitoring rangeland health. Several indicators have been examined and a number of these indicators have proven useful for monitoring purposes, e.g., size of unvegetated patch, perennial grass cover rand soil surface stability. We have worked with individual ranchers in New Mexico to test these methods and have established pilot projects on state lands to demonstrate their application to management. We are also studying prescribed burning of arid rangeland as a tool to improve degraded rangelands. The fire treatment was applied to study sites in 1999 and initial responses to fire and grazing effects will be measured in 2000. We will evaluate effects of fire on ecological processes and post-fire grazing and identify post-fire guidelines for recovery of key species in grazed Chihuahuan Desert grassland. One of our major research objectives is to develop new technologies for controlling distribution of livestock grazing rangelands. Few options presently exist for monitoring animal location and controlling animal movement to a specific area at a particular time. A method and apparatus have been developed that may allow for management of grazing livestock without ground-based fencing. The device worn by an animal incorporates a global positioning system and a geographic information system database to determine and control individual animal movements. We are field testing the ability of a third generation prototype to contain an animal in an area using bilaterally applied sensory cues. This technology could allow producers to reduce management costs, improve utilization of forage and protect ecologically sensitive areas.

Last Modified: 10/24/2014
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