Rangeland Ecology & Management

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Methods to Determine Carrying Capacity

Determining carrying capacity and setting stocking rates are some of the most challenging procedures connected with effective rangeland management. In fact, there are methods of sampling vegetation attributes and utilization that are both rapid and simple to use, and provide accurate and precise results. At best, the methods provide initial suggestions for stocking rates that should be adjusted in the light of subsequent monitoring of rangeland condition and rangeland trend.

Nonetheless, applications of carrying capacity are important tools in rangeland management, and are regularly expressed in inventory or monitoring objectives. Therefore, two approaches commonly adopted to determine carrying capacity have been selected for discussion in greater detail.

References and Further Reading

Jasmer, G.E., and J.L. Holechek. 1984. Determining grazing intensity on rangeland. Journal of Soil and Water Conservation 39:32-35.

McCall, T., R. Brown, and L Bender. 1997. Comparison of techniques for determining the nutritional carrying capacity for white-tailed deer. Journal of Range Management 50:33-37.

Smith, E.L. 1984. Use of inventory and monitoring data for range management purposes. In: National Research Council/National Academy of Sciences. Developing strategies for rangeland management. Westview Press. pp. 810-816, 822-824.

Vallentine, J.F. 1990. Grazing management. Academic Press. San Diego, CA. pp. 302-308.