Special Issue "Grazing in Future Multi-Scapes: From Thoughtscapes to Landscapes, Creating Health from the Ground Up"

A special issue of Sustainability (ISSN 2071-1050). This special issue belongs to the section "Sustainable Agriculture".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 31 October 2021.

Special Issue Editors

Prof. Dr. Iain J. Gordon
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Fenner School for Environment and Society, Australian National University, Acton, ACT 2100, Australia
Central Queensland University, Townsville, Qld 4810, Australia
Land and Water, CSIRO, Qld 4810, Australia
James Hutton Institute, Aberdeen AB10 8QH, UK
Interests: conservation; biodiversity; agriculture; food security; climate change
Special Issues and Collections in MDPI journals
Prof. Dr. Pablo Gregorini
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of Agricultural Science, Cente of Excellence Designing Future Productive Landscapes, Lincoln University, New Zealand
Interests: livestock production systems, ruminant nutrition, foraging ecology & behavior, ecological modelling, agroecosystems design
Prof. Fred Provenza
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of Wildland Resources, Utah State University, Logan, UT 84322, USA
Interests: behavioral/nutritional ecology; foraging behavior; behavior-based management of landscapes; community-based local adaptation; wildlife-livestock interactions

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Throughout different landscapes of the world, “grazing” herbivores fulfill essential roles in ecology, agriculture, economies and cultures, including families, farms and communities. Not only do livestock provide food and wealth, but they also deliver ecosystem services through the roles they play in environmental composition, structure and dynamics. Grazing, as a descriptive adjective, locates herbivores within a spatial and temporal pastoral context where they naturally graze or are grazed by farmers, ranchers, shepherds, etc. In many cases, however, pastoralism with the single objective of maximizing animal production and/or profit has transformed landscapes, diminishing biodiversity, reducing water and air quality, accelerating loss of soil and plant biomass and displacing indigenous animals and people. These degenerative landscape transformations have jeopardized present and future ecosystem and societal services, breaking the natural integration of land, water, air, health, society and culture. Land-users, policy makers and societies are calling for alternative approaches to pastoral systems—a call for diversified-adaptive and integrative agroecological and food–pastoral-system designs that operate across multiple scales and ‘scapes’ (e.g. thought-, social-, land-, food-, health-, wildscapes) simultaneously. There needs to be a paradigm shift in pastoral production systems and how grazing herbivores are managed—grazed—within them, derived initially from a change in perception of how they provide wealth.

The thoughtscapes will include paradigm shifts where grazers move away from the actual archetype of pastoralism, future landscapes are re-imagined, and regenerative and sustainable management paradigms are put in place to achieve these visions. From this will come a change in collective thinking of how communities and cultures (socialscapes) perceive their relationships with pastoral lands. The landscapes are the biotic and abiotic four-dimensional domains or environments in need of nurture. Landscapes are the tables where humans and herbivores gain their nourishment, i.e., foodscapes. Foodscapes and dietary perceptions dictate actions and reactions that are changing as developed countries grapple with diseases related to obesity and people starve in developing countries. Societies are demanding healthscapes and nutraceutical foodscapes and, paradoxically, some are moving away from animal products. While indigenous species of animals, including humans (wildscapes), have been displaced from many of their lands by monotonic pastoralism, multifunctional pastoral systems can be designed in view of dynamic multiscapes of the future.

The purpose of this Special Issue is to influence future mental and practical models of pastoralism in continually evolving multiscapes. We seek a collection of papers that will cultivate such a shift in thinking towards future models of sustainable multipurpose pastoralism. The contributions will be synthesized to establish how multifunctional pastoral systems can be re-imagined and then designed in view of the integrative dynamics of sustainable future multiscapes. The Special Issue is linked to a Workshop to be held in Christchurch, New Zealand in July 2021 (see https://web.cvent.com/event/3bcbdfc4-ff78-4f6d-804d-7bdedfeb8c8d/summary ).

Prof. Iain Gordon
Prof. Pablo Gregorini
Prof. Fred Provenza
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Sustainability is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1900 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • grazing
  • herbivores
  • land
  • sustainability
  • health
  • agriculture
  • pastoralism

Published Papers (2 papers)

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Research

Article
Rangeland Land-Sharing, Livestock Grazing’s Role in the Conservation of Imperiled Species
Sustainability 2021, 13(8), 4466; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/su13084466 - 16 Apr 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 966
Abstract
Land sharing, conserving biodiversity on productive lands, is globally promoted. Much of the land highest in California’s biodiversity is used for livestock production, providing an opportunity to understand land sharing and species conservation. A review of United States Fish and Wildlife Service listing [...] Read more.
Land sharing, conserving biodiversity on productive lands, is globally promoted. Much of the land highest in California’s biodiversity is used for livestock production, providing an opportunity to understand land sharing and species conservation. A review of United States Fish and Wildlife Service listing documents for 282 threatened and endangered species in California reveals a complex and varied relationship between grazing and conservation. According to these documents, 51% or 143 of the federally listed animal and plant species are found in habitats with grazing. While livestock grazing is a stated threat to 73% (104) of the species sharing habitat with livestock, 59% (85) of the species are said to be positively influenced, with considerable overlap between species both threatened and benefitting from grazing. Grazing is credited with benefiting flowering plants, mammals, insects, reptiles, amphibians, fish, crustaceans, and bird species by managing the state’s novel vegetation and providing and maintaining habitat structure and ecosystem functions. Benefits are noted for species across all of California’s terrestrial habitats, except alpine, and for some aquatic habitats, including riparian, wetlands, and temporary pools. Managed grazing can combat anthropomorphic threats, such as invasive species and nitrogen deposition, supporting conservation-reliant species as part of land sharing. Full article
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Article
Mechanisms of Grazing Management in Heterogeneous Swards
Sustainability 2020, 12(20), 8676; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/su12208676 - 19 Oct 2020
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1075
Abstract
We explored the effects of heterogeneity of sward height on the functioning of grazing systems through a spatially implicit mechanistic model of grazing and sward growth. The model uses a population dynamic approach where a sward is spatially structured by height, which changes [...] Read more.
We explored the effects of heterogeneity of sward height on the functioning of grazing systems through a spatially implicit mechanistic model of grazing and sward growth. The model uses a population dynamic approach where a sward is spatially structured by height, which changes as a function of defoliation, trampling, and growth. The grazing component incorporates mechanisms of bite formation, intake, and digestion rates, but excludes sward quality effects. Sward height selection is determined by maximization of the instantaneous intake rate of forage dry mass. For any given average sward height, intake rate increased with increasing spatial heterogeneity. Spatio-temporal distribution of animal density over paddocks did not markedly affect animal performance but it modified the balance of vegetation heterogeneity within and between paddocks. Herbage allowance was a weak predictor of animal performance because the same value can result from multiples combinations of herbage mass per unit area, number of animals, animal liveweight, and paddock area, which are the proximate determinants of intake rate. Our results differ from models that assume homogeneity and provide strong evidence of how heterogeneity influences the dynamic of grazing systems. Thus, we argue that grazing management and research need to incorporate the concept of heterogeneity into the design of future grazing systems. Full article
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