Livestock Management in the Arid Zone: Coping Strategies

Document Type: Review and Short Length Article

Authors

1 Ecology and Resources Group, Gansu Agricultural University, Lanzhou

2 Department of Rangeland Management, Young Researchers Club, Boroujerd Branch, Islamic Azad University, Boroujerd,

Abstract

The arid zone encompasses land that has an imbalance between precipitation and losses through evaporation. Globally, arid zones comprise large part of many countries in the mid-latitudes in both the Northern and the Southern hemispheres. Both Australia and Iran are countries with a large arid zone. This negative water balance in the arid zone affects the type of land use in these countries. At the driest end of the spectrum only the hardiest livestock, camels, and some locally adapted sheep and goats provide subsistence to nomadic peoples. In other parts of the arid zone, the search for forage and water has generated development of a number of management systems involving nomadic, seminomadic and settled herding practices. Maximum forage productivity of livestock in the rangeland depends on the amount of water to which the livestock has access. Livestock can use the range forage in the best way with no harms to the rangeland in order to produce the maximum livestock products if there are enough water resources. Due to the limited drinking water resources in the arid regions and the range ecosystem sensitivity in these regions, the optimum use and in general, water resources management are of considerable importance. Adaptations of livestock and people are discussed here before attention is turned to the impact of livestock on the resource base that is the vegetation (principally forage/browse) and water on which the pastoralists depend.

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