Restoring Disturbed Landscapes

Part of the series The Science and Practice of Ecological Restoration pp 107-116

Renewing Pastureland Functions Using Tree Belts

  • David J. TongwayAffiliated withCSIRO’s Gungahlin Laboratory Email author 
  • , John A. LudwigAffiliated withCSIRO’s Laboratory Atherton

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In this scenario we describe the procedures and principles that restoration practitioners (RPs) can put into practice to improve a number of functions and values (e.g., retaining water and improving biodiversity) on farms where woodlands have been cleared for use as pasturelands. To create pastures and grow crops in many regions around the world, woodlands have been extensively cleared. This clearing of woodland trees alters the way landscapes function. (See Ludwig and Tongway 2000, 2002.) Tree clearing can cause runoff and loss of soil even in relatively gently sloping landscapes (figure 10.1). Attempts to avoid such problems by growing pastures for livestock, rather than farming crops, have often failed because closely grazed pastures provide very little resistance to overland flows, especially when rainfall events are intense. Even moderate rainstorm events can wash soil sediments, animal dung, and plant litter from hillslopes into riparian zones and can create further difficulties, such as the clogging of natural drainages.