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Universitat Osnabrück (2011)

Risk management in semi-arid rangelands : Modelling adaptation to spatio-temporal heterogeneities

Jakoby Oliver

Titre : Risk management in semi-arid rangelands : Modelling adaptation to spatio-temporal heterogeneities

Auteur : Oliver Jakoby

Université de soutenance : Universitat Osnabrück

Grade : Doktorgrades der Naturwissenschaften (Dr. rer. nat.) 2011

Livestock grazing is the most important type of land-use in arid and semi-arid regions. In these regions, uncertain and highly variable climate conditions cause scarce and spatio-temporally variable resource availability. The major challenge to livestock grazing is the efficient utilisation of these resources without running the risk of degradation. Therefore, well adapted grazing strategies that consider both local environmental characteristics and the farmers’ individual needs and perceptions are crucial for sustaining human livelihoods. Particularly, rotational grazing is presumed to render adaptation to spatio-temporal heterogeneities possible. A systematic investigation, however, that analyses the interrelations between the major components of rotational grazing systems on appropriate spatial and temporal scales was missing so far. This doctoral thesis investigates different management strategies for sustainable livestock grazing in semi-arid rangelands. Using an integrated modelling approach, it enters into the question : how to adapt grazing systems to spatio-temporal heterogeneous rangeland conditions, variable and changing climate conditions, and different individual needs and goals of livestock farmers ? In order to address these issues, the taken approach tackles both methodical challenges and applied concerns. In the first part of this study, a generic modelling framework is developed that incorporates important components of grazing systems on appropriate spatial and temporal scales. To parameterise the model, a pattern-oriented approach is developed that uses qualitative patterns to derive a broad range of plausible parameter sets supporting a general model analysis. In the second part, a variety of management strategies is explored under different climatic, ecological, and economic conditions. The research focuses in particular on combined effects between and relative importance of different management components. The question how the results of different management strategies depend on the type of vegetation is investigated. Furthermore, the performance of rotational grazing strategies is analysed under different economic requirements and rainfall conditions. The study also identifies management strategies that are suitable to adapt a grazing system to spatio-temporally variable rangeland conditions. Overall, this thesis contributes to a general understanding of basic principles for adaptation to spatio-temporal heterogeneities as well as the interplay of different management components. The results allow an evaluation of management strategies for specific situations and the identification of strategies that are robust to a broad range of situations including different aspects of global change.


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