Short-Duration Grazing May Improve Wildlife Habitat In Southeastern Pinelands

In southeastern pinelands, continuous year-long cattle grazing often degrades wildlife habitat and range condition. Short periods of intensive grazing followed by long rest periods show potential for improving wildlife habitat. In 1976 we began a study in which small pastures on a mature longleaf pine (Pinus palustris) flatwoods site in northern Florida were grazed for I to 2 weeksXuntil 50 percent of the grazeable forage was removed. Pastures were then rested for 2, 4, or 6 months before grazing was repeated. Early results indicate that the 4-month period of rest will significantly reduce the occurrence of pineland threeawn (Aristida stricta) and saw-palmetto (Serenoa repens) 2 abundant and troublesome plants, and will favor the increase of some desirable wildlife plants, mainly herbs.

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