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Ecological and Biological Issues of Pasture Management

Sainkhuu Tserendash

Pasture Resource

Pasture management based on ecological resource. Natural pasture is main root of livestock husbandry. Mongolia has 147.1 million ha suitable land which is including khangai, steppe, gobi for pasture. Growing about 3000 plants by various composition is produce over 200 pasture type. Average forage resource of a year is equal to, 26396.9 thousand tones for summer and autumn, 18965.34 thousand tones for winter and spring and total 465638.1 thousand centner. Using pasture sustainable management, it is possible to prevent pasture degradation and provide forage for livestock all season of the year. /Tserendash, 1980/.

Pasture Management and Plant Growth

Pasture management can be divided warm season and cold season. Warm season management is most important part. In warm season (120 days) plants complete all their growth stage as producing a definite amount yield and littered. Essentially, this yield provides the forage of livestock in cold season. Pasture plants grow by tillering, budding, spike deriving, flowering, seed mature and littering stages and retain next generation such as seed, bud, branch and root. If plants incomplete their growth stage or reproductive organs are eaten by livestock, their regeneration will stop. Main goal of pasture management is provide the condition to complete all growth stages of plants and define grazing duration.

Most sensitive growth period which is to define further growth of the plants is tillering, budding and spike deriving. If livestock grazing coupled with plant tillering, branch derivation decrease and then plant growth stop totally.

Therefore, It would be important to manage pasture utilization to avoid overgrazing in first stages pasture plants. Nutrition doesn’t accumulate enough to support growth of the plants reproductive organ during the budding and spike driving period. Hence, pasture use in spike derivation period would be tend to degradation pasture.

It have to manage plants which are form spike late spring or early summer dominant pasture shift every year and give opportunity to complete growth their periods.

Plant yield can be reach maximum in flowering period. This period is not sensitive like tillering as well as it is possible to use pasture and harvest. But remember “The golden rule” which means any case of utilization must be appropriate carrying capacity. Nutrition in the leaves transfer in to root in seed mature period and start a preparing plant wintering. Pasture use in seed mature period is relatively less impact on next year pasture plants yield.

Productivity and Carrying Capacity

Pasture, harvest yield accumlation are different in various vegetation zones depending on plant species composition, biomorphological features, habitat and climate condition. One of the biological feature is plant good accumlation. If summer harvest is 100%, high mountain, forest steppe, steppe pasture yield in autumn 63-80%, in winter 52-67% and in spring 34-56% accumlate as necromass.

To make landscape correction for mongolian pasture yield, determined pasture carring capacity. There is a capacity to bear average 86 million sheep in normal climate condition year but it would be decrease to 57 million sheep in drought a year in our observation. When we are developing pasture management plan, we should consider climate condition and make flexible management. The base of the concept is pasture productivity.

Functional Group Plants and Pasture Management

Grass is advanced than others by their function in vegetation cover, climate, tolerence human activity impact, competetive capacity. Grass is made up 17.1% of high mountain pasture of summer yield, 29.5% of forest steppe, 40.1% of steppe, 68.5% of desert steppe, 38.2% of meadow pasture. Pasture sustainable management depend on biology, morphology and abundance of functional group of plants. Total pasture productivity can be determined by grass yield based grass steady growth as well as pasture improvement technology may proceed. If grass makes up 25% pasture vegetation, it would be give positive result to shift pasture by pasture plant growth periods.

Plant Flowering Take Place and Pasture Use Regime

Plants regeneration capacity after they are eaten by livestock or cut is called plant flowering take place capacity. Also plants which grow after grazed or cut is called late-grown yield.

Using pasture after flowering take place, protein including the plants can be increase 40% and yield can be increase 30% in per square meter. A advantage of late-grown yield has 5.1- 17.9% less cellulose than green plants. Based on the feature, pasture can be used 2-3 time for 60-80 days /Tserendash, 1996/

Pasture Use Frequency and Shift

Pasture use period and frequency should overlap with plant growth regime and it would be base pasture use management and prevention of pasture degradation.

After derived sedge-forb dominant pasture because overgrazing are released to use for a year, yield increase by 220-310 kg per ha and begin to regenerate.

If pasture doesn’t use in vegetation period and use after seed dispersion, next year productivity will increase 9-10%.

Pasture Use Factors

Pasture plant growth is more intensive associated with preciptation, air temperature, soil fertality in summer. Judging from observation, grass can regenerate and complete all growth stages as well as adapt harsh climate condition even losing 50% of its leaves. Therefore, the best way to adapt pasture vegetation for climate change is to follow a concept to use 50% of aboveground plant biomass and leave 50% on the ground.

Pasture Management Type

Pasture can be used preventing its degradation for long time as using pasture plants associated with their ecology and biology. Result of cooperated management herders and local administration, they are possible to participate with equal rights. The management main point is connection of traditional pasture use method, local administration regulation and modern joined pasture use management. It shouldn’t be considered separately pasture management and involvement of all level agency of state power.

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