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1 September 2018 Land Manager Perceptions of Opportunities and Constraints of Using Livestock to Manage Invasive Plants
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Abstract

The ecological impacts of rangeland invasive plants have been widely documented, but the social aspects of how managers perceive their impacts and options for control have been relatively understudied, and successful, long-term invasive plant management programs are limited. In particular, though a growing body of research has identified livestock grazing as the most practical and economical tool for controlling invasive rangeland plants, to date there has not been a systematic assessment of the challenges and opportunities producers and other land managers see as most important when considering using livestock to manage invasive plants. In-depth, semistructured interviews with California annual grass and hardwood rangeland ranchers, public agency personnel, and nongovernmental organization land managers were used to address this need. Although interviewees broadly agreed that grazing could be an effective management tool, differences emerged among the three groups in how they prioritized invasive plant control, the amount of resources devoted to control, and the grazing strategies employed. Interviewees identified key challenges that hinder broad-scale adoption of control efforts, including the potential incompatibility of invasive plant management and livestock production; a lack of secure, long-termaccess to land for many ranchers; incomplete or insufficient information, such as the location or extent of infestations or the economic impacts to operations of invasive plants; and the temporal and spatial variability of the ecosystem. By identifying key socioecological drivers that influence the degree to which livestock are used to manage invasive plants, this study was able to identify potential pathways to move our growing understanding of the science of targeted grazing into practice. Research, extension, and grazing programs that address these barriers should help increase the extent to which we can effectively use livestock to slow and perhaps reverse the spread of some of our most serious rangeland weeds.

© 2018 The Society for Range Management. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
M.W.K. Shapero, L. Huntsinger, T.A. Becchetti, F.E. Mashiri, and J.J. James "Land Manager Perceptions of Opportunities and Constraints of Using Livestock to Manage Invasive Plants ," Rangeland Ecology and Management 71(5), 603-611, (1 September 2018). https://doi.org/10.1016/j.rama.2018.04.006
Received: 3 November 2017; Accepted: 16 April 2018; Published: 1 September 2018
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