Book: Impact of Grazing Livestock

Markus Stumpp, Karsten Wesche, Vroni Retzer, and Georg Miehe (2005)
Impact of Grazing Livestock and Distance from Water Source on Soil
Fertility in Southern Mongolia. Mountain Research and Development:
Vol. 25, No. 3, pp. 244-251.

The impact of livestock grazing on soil nutrients and vegetation
parameters was studied in dry montane steppes of southern Mongolia in
order to assess the risk of habitat degradation. Data were collected
along transects radiating away from permanent water sources. Dung unit
density counts revealed gradients of livestock activity, but
utilization belts around water sources overlapped, indicating that
pastoral land use affects the entire landscape. Dung unit counts
corresponded to gradients in soil nutrient parameters (C, N, P), which
significantly decreased with distance from the wells. However, no
significant correlation was observed for plant species richness and
vegetation composition with distance from water source. This indicates
that soil parameters and livestock grazing exert a relatively smaller
influence on the vegetation than the high inter-annual variability in
precipitation. Therefore, the ecosystem at the study site was found to
react in a non-equilibrium way, which suggests that the risk of
degradation is low, at least insofar as plant community composition is

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