Grasslands Restoration Essay

997 words - 4 pages

Grasslands Restoration
Grassland restoration is becoming more prevalent as invasive species continue to threaten the stability of the local grasslands ecosystems. This essay will analyze two different grasslands restoration methods. The fire-grazing model and the shrub clearing-grazing model will be highlighted with examples from the literature. These models will then be used to devise a new restoration strategy for the restoration of grasslands that have been invaded by shrubs, especially the Acacia Karoo.
The restoration strategy used within this study focused on the relationship between fire and grazing. The study proposes the application of fire-grazing model as a way to increase the heterogeneity within the landscape and to restore the system to represent a grassland ecosystem. Fuhlendord and Engle (2004) highlighted in their paper that although the grazing method alone can be sustainable on most grasslands, recent studies have demonstrated that creating focal grazing points can cause degradation of the entire ecosystem (Fuhlendorf & Engle, 2004). The fire-grazing model applies discrete fires to patches which are then followed by animal grazing. This process creates a shifting mosaic across the landscape while maintaining productivity of the grasslands and of the livestock. The model indicates that fire and grazing and interlinked with unique positive and negative feedback effects which either promote or inhibit particular processes (Fuhlendorf & Engle, 2004). The model states that recently burned areas have a positive relationship with the probability of selection by grazing animals and a negative relationship with the probability of fire. Patches that have not been exposed to fire have inverse relationships than the recently burned patches. The model also highlights that recently burned patches take 2-3 years to arrive at a point where a fire can rejuvenate the patch once again (Fuhlendorf & Engle, 2004). The author’s argue that an ecosystem approach be applied on grasslands restoration which would emphasize the role of heterogeneity. Heterogeneity may be used as a basis for conservation biology because it takes into account the critical roles of spatial and temporal variability, and biodiversity (Fuhlendorf & Engle, 2004). Fuhlendorf and Engle throughout the paper argued that the fire-grazing model is close to the natural processes that would have resulted in the formation of the grasslands across North America.
The dry grasslands of the French Prealps region are suitable for legally protected and increasingly rare species of orchids, butterflies, and many passerine species. Barbaro, Dutoit, and Cozic (2001) conducted an experiment in these regions that aimed to answer whether the combination of shrub-clearing and grazing significant affected species richness and are there significant differences between the sites? The shrub-clearing method was used to initially clear the 4 study areas of shrubs. This method was only applied once....

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