Rangeland Ecology & Management

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Standing Crop

Standing crop is the total above-ground plant biomass on the site at a particular point in time. Standing crop includes current year's production together with that produced in previous years. Standing crop at a site fluctuates within and among years, depending on seasonal conditions and utilization by grazing animals.

One common objective of rangeland monitoring is to try to determine peak standing crop, or the greatest level of biomass at the site during the year. In environments with clearly defined seasons, peak standing crop coincides with the end of the growing season, such as in early fall following the monsoon rainfall in southern Arizona. Information regarding the peak standing crop is taken as an indicator of yearly productivity and used to estimate carrying capacity.

References and Further Reading

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Bonham, C.D. 1989. Measurements of terrestrial vegetation. John Wiley Sons. New York, NY. pp 216-217.

Cassels, D.M., Gillen, R.L., McCollum, F.T., Tate, K.W., and M.E. Hodges. 1995. Effects of grazing management on standing crop dynamics in tallgrass prairie. Journal of Range Management 48:81-84.

Hufstader, R.W. 1976. Precipitation, temperature, and the standing crop of some southern California grassland species. Journal of Range Management 29:433-435. (pdf)

Holechek, J.L., Pieper, R.D., and C.H. Herbel. 1995. Range management principles and practices. Prentice Hall, Englewood Cliffs, NJ. 2nd ed. pp 135-136.

Malone, C.R. 1968. Determination of peak standing crop biomass of herbaceous shoots by the harvest method. American Midland Naturalist 79:429-435.

Ratliff, R.D., Duncan, D.A., and S.E. Westfall. 1991. California oak-woodland overstory species affect herbage understory: Management implications. Journal of Range Management 44:306-310. (pdf)

Soltero, S., Bryant, F.C., and A. Melgoza. 1989. Standing crop patterns under short duration grazing in northern Mexico. Journal of Range Management 42:20-21. (pdf)

Smith, M.A., Dodd, J.L., Skinner, Q.D., and J.D. Rodgers. 1993. Dynamics of vegetation along and adjacent to an ephemeral channel. Journal of Range Management 46:56-64. (pdf)