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Patch-burn grazing is a range management strategy that might be able to simultaneously optimize livestock production objectives and wildlife habitat objectives.
We compared patch-burn grazing to a traditional range management strategy in multiple pastures, representing a variety of land ownership and management histories, dispersed across a relatively large geographic area. Our results likely represent what land managers could expect if they adopted patch-burn grazing in similar situations.
We found that cattle performance in pastures managed with patch-burn grazing did not differ from that found in pastures managed with a traditional range management strategy. This suggests that land managers who adopt patch-burn grazing in our study region might be able to maintain levels of cattle performance they are accustomed to. Simultaneously, they might also be able to achieve wildlife habitat objectives that might not have been possible with the application of traditional range management strategies.
More research and trials of patch-burn grazing in other regions and vegetation types will further help land mangers determine if patch-burn grazing is a range management strategy that could be useful when applied to their unique circumstances.
Expansion of western juniper has been a major concern of ranchers and managers working on rangelands.
Insects and mites associated with juniper berries can impact juniper seed production, but little is known about arthropods inhabiting western juniper or their effects on seeds.
Our study of insects and other arthropods found inside juniper berries at two sites in northeastern California found 37 species of insects and one mite species, ranging from those that eat berries or seeds to parasitoid insects that develop from eggs laid inside other insects, ultimately killing their host, and hyperparasitoids that parasitize other parasitoids.
We identified several granivores that consume western juniper seeds and, when abundant, may reduce the production of viable seeds considerably.
This piñon–juniper rangeland in central Arizona experienced heavy seasonal (late-spring/early-summer) grazing, but with above average, well-timed and evenly distributed precipitation for the time of year; both cool- and warm-season native grasses recovered.
If this study had been conducted on rangeland that was typically more heavily grazed, and more susceptible to erosion, and done later in the growing season, the risk of exceeding targeted end-of-season grazing utilization would have been greater.
Planning for, or reacting to, grazing utilization that exceeds targeted levels should take site-specific risk factors into consideration.