Managing Browsing and Grazing Ungulates
As anthropogenic influences on the world’s rangelands accelerate, there is an urgency for humanity to develop a greater understanding of key drivers, and processes, underlying ecological dynamics and function, to inform improved management strategies. Browsing and grazing ungulates are important components of human-dominated and natural ecosystems, contributing to agricultural output and associated livelihoods, as well as to biodiversity and ecosystem services. A review of key concepts pertinent to the dynamics and management of browsing and grazing ungulates highlights the emergence of functional heterogeneity as a general, or unifying, theme guiding their management, whatever the scale or system. It is also clear that management of ungulate density, and the intensity of herbivory, especially in smaller-scale sedentary systems (e.g. ranches or small protected areas), is a critical determinant of functional heterogeneity. We demonstrate how the functional heterogeneity concept can be applied to the management of grazing and browsing ungulates over a range of scales and ecosystems.
The authors are indebted to Herbert Prins and Iain Gordon for their helpful comments, which improved this manuscript.
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