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New Mexico State University (2021)

Sustainable Grazing Management in the Chihuahuan Desert : Traditional and Novel Approaches to Adapt to a Changing Climate

McIntosh, Matthew Montana

Titre : Sustainable Grazing Management in the Chihuahuan Desert : Traditional and Novel Approaches to Adapt to a Changing Climate

Auteur : McIntosh, Matthew Montana

Université de soutenance : New Mexico State University

Grade : Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) Range science 2021

Résumé partiel
Sustainability of agro-ecological networks requires management practices that benefit social, ecological, and financial goals in order to maximize long-term system resilience. Global temperatures have risen 1.0 °C since the 1850s as the result of anthropogenic emissions, which have begun to exacerbate drought, heat waves, and shrub encroachment in the US southwest and which are projected to worsen through the next century. Traditional approaches for sustainably managing rangelands, like applying appropriate stocking rates, have been used to maintain desirable plant community states in the past, but overriding effects of climate change will likely call for additional adaptation strategies to cope with extreme year-to-year variation in forage production. Introduction of adapted heritage livestock breeds or precision ranching technologies have potential as adoptable mitigation tools for sustaining rangelands in the face of climate change and increased food demand. This dissertation includes research conducted at the intersection of two long-term grazing studies ; one that began in 1995 and ended in 2018 and another that began in 2019 and is expected to continue over the long term (>20-y). The first study characterized effects of livestock grazing, stocking rates, ecosystem attributes, and climate on Chihuahuan Desert (CD) rangeland plant productivity and community trends whereas the second study will investigate heritage versus conventional cattle breed production and grazing effects on CD plant communities, soils, and wildlife, as well as the potential for precision technologies to enhance sustainability via real-time monitoring of livestock and critical ranch resources to inform producer decisions and reduce the environmental footprint of ranching. The first section of this dissertation (chapters 2 and 3) analyzes long-term data from the first study, whereas the second section (chapters 4 - 6) reports research that will serve as the basis for the new long-term study.

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Page publiée le 7 décembre 2021