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Title The effects of grazing and rest on plants in experimental plots on two neighbouring farms in Namibia’s Highland Savanna

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Short title Grazing and rest of a rangeland in Namibia

Author(s) Zimmermann, I.(1); Wesuls, D.(2); Kauatjirue, J.(1)

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Institution(s) (1) Polytechnic of Namibia, Windhoek; (2) Biocentre Klein Flottbek, University of Hamburg.

Keywords Grazing; resting rangeland; stocking rate

Abstract On each of two farms two experimental plots of 1.4ha each were fenced. One is an exclosure to show the effects of total rest. The other gets grazed twice a year at the same overall stocking rate as the surrounding camp to show the effects of a long rest after grazing. Over the three years since establishing the plots, rainfall influenced the perennial grass density more than management did. On the more heavily stocked farm, there was less biological soil crust, more exposed calcrete and a higher density of perennial grasses than on the other farm, especially of Stipagrostis obtusa that seems to be stimulated by grazing, causing a large tussock to break down into several smaller tussocks. Still on the more heavily stocked farm, a lot of Stipagrostis obtusa became moribund in the exclosure, while appearing vigorous in the grazed/rested plot and weak in the continuously grazed surrounding paddock. The benefits of rest during active growth of grass are becoming apparent there. On the other farm the stocking rate is so low, and the surrounding paddock is rotationally grazed, resulting in no significant differences among plots.

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Ref. No. 570