Livestock grazing has been considered detrimental to wildlife habitat. Managed grazing programs, however, have the potential to maintain habitat diversity and quality. In cases in which single-species management predominates (sage-grouse [Centrocercus urophasianus] or elk [Cervus elaphus nelsoni] winter range), grazing systems specific to species' needs can be implemented. Managed livestock grazing can have 4 general impacts on vegetation: 1) alter the composition of the plant community, 2) increase the productivity of selected species, 3) increase the nutritive quality of the forage, and 4) increase the diversity of the habitat by altering its structure. Implementing a grazing management plan to enhance wildlife habitat requires an interdisciplinary approach. Knowledge of plant community dynamics, habitat requirements of affected wildlife species, and potential effects on the livestock used are basic to successful system design. However, any habitat change made for a featured species may create adverse, neutral, or beneficial changes for other species. Management actions, other than development of a grazing system, are often required for habitat manipulations to be successful. More research efforts are needed to understand complementary grazing systems on a landscape scale.
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Vol. 58 • No. 2