The impact of livestock grazing on plant diversity: an analysis across dryland ecosystems and scales in southern Africa

  • Published source details Hanke W., Böhner J., Dreber N., Jürgens N., Schmiedel U., Wesuls D. & Dengler J. (2014) The impact of livestock grazing on plant diversity: an analysis across dryland ecosystems and scales in southern Africa. Ecological Applications, 24, 1188-1203.


This study is summarised as evidence for the following.

Action Category

Reduce number of livestock

Action Link
Shrubland and Heathland Conservation
  1. Reduce number of livestock

    A replicated, controlled, paired site, site comparison study in 2005–2009 in three karoo shrubland sites in Namibia and South Africa (Hanke et al. 2014) found that reducing livestock numbers increased plant cover in three of three sites and increased the number of plant species in one of three sites. In three of three sites, areas where livestock numbers were low had higher plant cover (13–39%) than areas with high livestock numbers (8–29%). In one of three sites plant species richness was higher in areas with low livestock numbers (15 species) than areas with high livestock numbers (12 species), while at the other two sites there was no significant difference in plant species richness (low grazing: 23–36 species, high grazing: 24–34 species). High and low livestock areas were separated by a fence. Vegetation cover was monitored in 2005–2009 using between sixteen and twenty 100 m2 plots in both areas with low and high livestock numbers.

    (Summarised by: Phil Martin)

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