Effects of Livestock Grazing on Forest Habitats

  • Ann Dennis


The presettlement landscape of the Midwest was a mosaic of prairie, woodland and savanna (Ebinger, Chapter 1, and Robertson et al., Chapter 2, this volume). Today, row crops and pasture dominate this landscape, and native vegetation occurs mostly as woodland along streams or on terrain too steep to plow. Although some remnants of native vegetation are protected in parks or nature preserves, these mostly occur as small and scattered islands. Although protected areas are central to strategies for protecting rare species and communities, a large land base is required to maintain regional biotas, ecological dynamics, and potential for range adjustment and evolution. (Noss and Cooperrider 1994). In the Midwest this land base of natural habitats is privately owned. For example, small, privately owned woodlands (including farm woodlands) account for about 70% of all land remaining in native vegetation in Illinois (Neely and Heister 1987, Iverson 1989). For this reason, privately owned woodlands, including those used for grazing, are a major element in long-term conservation in the Midwest, and farm activities that affect woodland habitat function deserve specific attention.


Forest Habitat Sugar Maple Understory Vegetation Livestock Grazing Litter Depth 
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Copyright information

© Chapman & Hall 1997

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ann Dennis
    • 1
  1. 1.USDA Forest ServicePacific Southwest Research StationBerkeleyUSA

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