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Important Range Management Terminologies

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Important Range Management Terminologies (Short Notes)


            Food requirements of different kind of animals expressed in terms of Animal Unit are termed as Animal Equivalent. Animal Equivalents are as follows:
Cow                 1.0AU                         Mule                1.0AU
Yearing           1.6AU                         Donkey           0.6AU
Bull                 1.3AU                         Goat                0.3AU
Buffalo            1.5AU                         Sheep              0.2AU
Horse              1.3AU                         Camel              1.7AU


A cow weight 1000 lb or 450 kg along with a calf of about 6 months constitute one animal unit.
Buffalo            1.5 animal units
Sheep              0.2 A.U
Goat                0.3 A.U
Camel              1.7 A.U
Horse              1.25 – 1.5 A.U
The requirement of (1 AU) air dry becomes or forage of 1 AU is taken in Pakistan as 9 kg or 20 lbs/ day.


The amount of forage required by an animal unit for one month of grazing is AUM”.
Eg as mentioned earlier 1 AU in 9kg / day, so for a whole month of 30 days AUM will be:
9 kg * 30 = 270 kg


All plants are classified as C3 (plants that use only the Calvin-Benson cycle), C4 (plants that use an additional CO2-fixation mechanism and the Calvin-Benson cycle), C3-C4 (plants intermediate between C3 and C4), and CAM (plants that have a variant of the C4 pathway).


“Maximum number of animal units that can be grazed in one hectare in one year.” OR; “It is the minimum number of hectares that are required to feed one animal unit for one year.” Or; “The maximum stocking rate possible without inducing damage to vegetation or related resources.” _ Stoddart, Smith and Baz (1975)
According to Stodart, Smith, and Baz (1975). The maximum animal number which can graze each year over a given area of range for specific no of days without producing a downward trend in forage production and forage quality and soil.


Photosynthesis in arid-region plants: photosynthesis occurring in cacti and other plants in dry regions whereby carbon dioxide is taken in at night and chemically converted for storage until it is used during daylight.
This process enables the plant to close its leaf pores during the daytime, thereby conserving water.


            A special type of irrigation system applied for artificial regeneration water-deficient areas. A network of pipes is spread which drip water to each plant. The system is applied with a pumping source. The interval of drip can be regulated.


“It is the number of times of an area which is grazed by animals”.


  1. The number of animals that can be allowed to graze on 1 milethe of an area is the maximum number that a land will support during the poor season.
  2. Effect of planned grazing is always completed by the adoption of some other factors eg Range mgt improvement operations.


It is the realization of principles of vegetation management largely through utilization of vegetation by the livestock for the benefit of both vegetation and livestock.

Grazing Systems in Pakistan:

    1. Continuous G.S
    2. Rotational G.S
    3. Deferred G.S
    4. Deferred Rotational G.S
    5. Best block G.S


            “Time interval b/w defoliation or successive grazing and number of these occurrences are Grazing Frequency”.


            The proportion of current year growth that is consumed or destroyed by grazing animals. OR; “The degree to which the forage has been removed is Grazing Intensity.”
Heavy:              50% or greater
Moderate:        31-50%
Light:                5-30%


            Tending of range animals by herdsman to guide them to un-graze parts of the range area is known as Herding. Duties of herder are:

  1. Repair fencing
  2. Maintain adequate water and salt on the range area
  3. Care for sick animals and preventing death losses
  4. Assuming proper forage utilization
  5. Avoid theft loses
  6. Take animals at night time back to bedding places.


Species that indicates the presence of certain environmental conditions, seral stages or previous treatments are called as Indicator Species.”
A few examples of following range species:
Salvadora fruiticosa   Indicates Saline Soil
Stipa tortilus               Dominant in Scrub zone showing retrogression
Aristida species          Dominant in Scrub zone showing retrogression
Iris hoaleriana             Indicates overgrazing
Cymbopogon spp        Indicates overgrazing


“The degree to which the forage of rangeland has been grazed by grazing animal is called intensity of used of defoliation”.
The intensity of use or grazing may be light, moderate, or heavy. The forage production of a particular area will be increased with an increase in the intensity of grazing for a short period of time. In long run, increased intensity of grazing will decline the range productivity.

Effects of Intensity of grazing on Range Land:

    1. Light grazing will affect slightly
    2. Heavy grazing will affect adversely
    3. The decrease in forage capacity
    4. Arrival of invaders
    5. Increase in soil erosion
    6. The decrease in range condition, etc.


            It is the portion of the range which because of its location, grazing or browsing value serves as an indicative sample of range condition, trend, or degree of use. Or; the area upon which success of range management operation is depended.
These areas should not be close to watering point or far away ie not more than 2 km. It should not be on steep topography.


            Forage spp whose use serve as an indicator to the degree of use of associated species. Or; those forage spp which are highly preferred. Such spp must be considered in the management Programme.


When less than half of the standing biomass is consumed and the other half is left as an unused portion, such types of grazing is Light Grazing.


            Any material used at the surface of the soil to assist in soil productivity designated as Mulch. Mulches comprise of plant residue, litter, manure, soil and stone, paper, polythenes, and other artificial covers.

Importance of Mulching:

    1. Suppression of weeds
    2. Conservation of moisture by decreasing runoff and evaporation and increasing infiltration.
    3. Conservation of soil by preventing erosion
    4. Maintenance and improvement of soil structure
    5. Thermal insulation
    6. Organic mulches increase fertility
    7. Enhanced humification and microbial activities leading to higher nutrients availability
    8. Improvement of soil structure by incorporation of plant residue and by encouraging soil fertility


The role of an organism within its natural environment that determines its relations with other organisms and ensures its survival is the Ecological niche of that organism.


A range may be regarded as normal when:

  1. It has become capable of maximum production
  2. Soil erosion has nearly stopped
  3. Inferior woody spp have largely disappeared.
  4. Desirable forage spp make up most of the cover.
  5. Grazing capacity has improved.

Characteristic of the Normal Range:

  1. Perennial palatable forage species
  2. High range condition
  3. Free from soil erosion
  4. Have grazing capacity according to site potential
  5. Free from poisons and anoxious species
  6. Have even distribution of watering ponds
  7. Suitable for grazing in all aspects.


Unmanaged grazing by the livestock of un-settled (migratory) tribes; generally harmful to vegetation is termed as nomadic grazing.


Palatability refers to the attractiveness of a plant to the animal as forage. It is a plant attribute. Different kinds of animals are differentially attracted by a particular spp. Eg grasses are more palatable for cattle than goats.

Factors affecting palatability:

  • Growth stage:

Palatability is more in the vegetative stage as compared to seed maturity stage.

  • Nutritive content:

Greater nutrient contents increase palatability.

  • Season of growth:

Palatability is more in the early season.

  • Kind of Animals:

Choice of different animals differs due to different palatability.

  • Species composition:

More preferred spp present more palatability.

  • Part of a plant species:

Leaves are more palatable as compared to any other part.

  • Animal preference for different species
  • Hunger:

Palatability will be more if the animal is hungrier.

  • Age, the fragrance of the animal:

Young animals like fleshy vegetation.

  • The familiarity of plants to animals


            It is the ratio of the Field intake to the field offered to the animals.
Palatability index = field intake/ field offered * 100


The grazing lands usu fenced and planted to primarily introduce native forage spp that receive periodic renovation (ie restoration) and /or cultural treatments, fertilization, mowing (ie cutting down or shearing), weed control and irrigation.


      A unidirectional process in which a plant community replaces another in a predictable manner until a final community is established which is stable and not susceptible to any change called climax; and this whole process is called Succession.


  • These are the components of the range ecosystem
  • Many poisonous plants kill the animals if eaten in large quantity
  • These plants are not poisonous at all season of the year
  • A plant may be poisonous to one kind of animal and may not be poisonous to other kinds of animals
  • There are many plants which are mechanically injurious to a certain time of years. They are armed with spine and cause sores.

Minimized by:

  • Recognizing the poisonous plant
  • Knowing the stage of growth at which they are most dangerous
  • Maintaining good cover of palatable or desirable forage plants

Control Measures:

  • General Management rules:
    • Avoid overuse of rangelands
    • Avoid the area where poisonous plants are available
    • Do not move the animals quickly
    • Do not force the animals to remain on range area after the desirable spp have been destroyed
    • After dry fed animals should no be put on rangeland where the poisonous plant is available
    • Avoid use of rangeland in late spring
    • Provide sufficient water to animals to dilute the poisonous plant use pallets of salts
    • Pure stands may be sprayed with herbicides
  • Mechanical Method:
    • Undesirable grasses are automatically removed during the operations.
      • Grubbing: Digging out of the plant and its roots to prevent sprouting and re-growth.
      • For the uprooting of plants:
        • Tractor with a dozer blade
        • Tractor with modified blades
        • Disk uprooting and cutting
        • Chaining and cabling for pulling trees
        • Rolling cutter
      • Chemical Method:
        • Herbicides contain the chemical to control the weed and undesirable plants. Eg Adhatoda vasica, Dodonea viscosa; the chemical used to destroy these:
          • Brand:
            • 2, 4 – D
            • 2, 4 – S – T
          • Trade:
            • Silver
            • Diclorum
            • MCDA
              Environmentalists are against these chemicals.
          • Manual Approach:

Physical Eradication of these undesirable plants by man:

  • Weeding
  • Brushwood cutting
  • Burning fen (control burning)
  • Selective uprooting
  • Grubbing
  • Trimming of green leaves
  • Girdling
  • Mesquite removal

This is an environmentally friendly approach.


            It refers to the selection of plant by animals. In response to certain characteristics, animals prefer some spp over other. Preference may vary from season to season. It is an animal attribute.

Factors affecting Preference:

  • Kind of animals:

Cattle prefer grasses; goats, camels prefer to browse species.

  • Nutritive value of the Species:

Species with more protein contents are preferred more.

  • Moisture contents of the Species:

Species with more moisture contents are always preferred.

  • Taste of the Species:

If animals have not taken salt for long period they will prefer saltish species otherwise they prefer the sweet taste.

  • Season of the growth:

The preference of spp may be different at different seasons of growth.

  • Essential oil present in Plant:

Animals able to digest oil contents prefer oily species.

  • Mode of the growing animal:

The spp may have a different preference based on the different mode of preferences


It is the ratio of percentage of the plant in the diet (utilization) to the percentage in range composition and expressed in percentage.


It is the selection of certain plants over the others by grazing animal. It is an animal attribute.

Factors on which preference value depends:

  • Nutrient Content
  • Essential oils
  • Taste
  • Mode of animals (pre-requisites)
  • Moisture content
  • Kind of animals
  • Mineral content
  • Season of growth


            It is the weight of forage produced within a designated period of time on a given rangeland. For weight, it is essential to mention that whether the weight is dry or green.


A metallic or wooden frame of varying shapes and sizes, used for sampling range vegetation is a Quadrat.


            “An establishment with specific boundaries together with its lands and improvements used for the grazing and production of the live sock and/ or wildlife”. _ SRM
Ranches are smaller in the area; they are fenced (it is a law in the USA to fence land, rangeland, etc). Moreover, ranches are restricted to use of wildlife only just unlike the rangelands which are used in different ways eg they are the source of waters, recreation, fuelwood, minerals, etc.


The range analysis is made from:

  1. By determining the Carrying Capacity
  2. By determining the Range Conditions
  3. By determining the Spp Composition and Cover Percentage.
  4. By determining the Range Trend
  5. By determining the Range Utilization


According to St. Smith and Box (1975):

  1. “The current condition of the range to the potential of which the particular area is capable.”
  2. Range conditions are described by range condition classes.
  3. Range condition is the comparison of the past with the present.

Experts have categorized the various possible condition of range, each being called as Class.

Following are the Range Condition Classes:

  1. Excellent
  2. Good
  3. Fair
  4. Poor
  5. Very poor

Condition                                Score of 4-Classes                  Score for 5-Classes
Classification                         Classification
Excellent                                 76 – 100 (forage yield)           81 – 100
Good                                       51 – 75                                    61 – 80
Fair                                         25 – 50                                    41 – 60
Poor                                             < 25                                    21 – 40
Very poor                                                                                     < 20

  1. Excellent:
    • 76 – 100% of forage yield
    • Litter on ground
    • No soil erosion
  2. Good:
  • 51 – 75%
  • Well covered ground
  • Vigorous plants
  • Slightly erosion
  1. Fair:
  • 25 – 50%
  • Perennial shrubs have increased greatly
  • Some invasion of annual grasses and weeds
  • Less ground cover
  • Low production
  • More runoff
  • Water entering into the soil in a little amount
  • Eroding soil
  1. Poor:
    • 0 – 25%
    • Less amount of annual grasses
    • Shrubs more abundant
    • The soil is poorly protected
    • Climax plant weak
    • More soil erosion
    • Less soil fertility


            These are the special treatments, developments and structures used to improve the range forage resources or to facilitate their use by grazing animals.

  • Increases the quality and quantity of forage and carrying capacity
  • Prolong grazing season
  • Increases the animal production and keep the livestock in healthy condition
  • Facilitate the handling of range animals
  • Keep away the animals from poisonous plants
  • Reduces the fire hazards by prescribed burning
  • Increases the water yield in the w-shed area
  • Control the erosion
  • Reduces the conflicts b/w multiple uses of range resources

Guidelines for selecting the Range improvement:

  • Only use proven methods except on small scale trail bases
  • Range improvement must be compatible with objectives
  • Availability of labor, equipment, technical assistance
  • Expected cost benefit-ration
  • Use the range improvements at appropriate stages of range degradation
  • Locate the improvement of the area of greatest potential for increasing the range productivity
  • Plant the livestock handling facilities that are practical and beneficial for both rangeland and range animals.

Range improvement practices:

  • Development and distribution of watering facilities on the range areas.
  • Salting – providing plenty of salt at proper places uniformly on the range areas.
  • The herding of live-stock to areas not preferred by animals, by a herdsman.
  • Fencing – fencing the large area into a small area and also the seeded areas (because we need to save it in early one month.)
  • Constricting paths and trails to connecting different range areas for livestock movement.
  • Range burning – dense patches of shrubs by vegetation are burned to facilitate livestock movement.
  • Range reseeding
  • Range fertilization
  • Using specified grazing systems.

Sources of Improvement:

  1. Herding:
  2. Introduction of indigenous and exotic forage species
  3. Range reseeding
  4. Fertilization
  5. Introduction of winter forage species
  6. Planting of fodder trees and shrubs
  7. Water development
  8. Water spreading
  9. Fencing
  10. Development of communication and storage facilities
  11. Soil Conservation
  12. Sand dunes stabilization
  13. Salting point development
  14. Range fertilization


“It is a land which is under natural vegetation and used for the pasturing livestock.”
“Those areas of the world which by reason of physical limitation, low and erratic rainfall, rough topography, poor drainage and cold temperature are unsuitable for cultivation and are the source of forage for livestock and source of wood, water, and livestock.”


Rangelands of Pakistan         =          15
Balochistan                             =          5
Sind                                         =          3
NWFP                                     =          3
Punjab                                     =          4

Rangeland of PUNJAB:

  • Pothowar plateau R.L = 2.5 million hectare
  • Thal desert R.L = 2.5 million ha
  • Cholistan desert R.L = 3.5 million ha
  • G Khan R.L = 1.2 million ha

Rangeland of KPK:

  • Alpine and Moist Temperate= 2.3 million ha
  • Dry Temperate (Southern western hills) = 2.3 million ha
  • Subtropical Forest Humid zones (Southeastern hills) = 1.1 million ha

Rangeland of SIND:

  • Rajistan; Nara = 3.8 million ha
  • Therparkar (Thar) = 4.5 million ha
  • Kohistan = 1.2 million ha

Rangeland of BALOCHISTAN:

  • Northern Mountain R.L = 8 million ha
  • Pat Plains of North East = 1.6 million ha
  • Chaghi-Kharan deserts = 8.4 million ha
  • Central plateau = 11.4 million ha
  • Lasbella – Mekran R.L = 3.3 million ha
  • Kalat area = 11.4 million ha


It is the science and art of optimizing the returns from rangeland in most desired combination and suitable for society through the manipulation of range ecosystem.


            It is that point in plant growth cycle at which grazing may begin without permanent damage to vegetation and soil.
Range readiness varies because of variation in rainfall especially. In a wet year, the same range will be ready for grazing earlier and later in a dry year.

Calculating Range Readiness:

  • Generally, it is before the flowing stage or when the plant attains 6 – 8 leaves or a height of 15 cm.
  • When one half or 3/4th of the twigs on shrubs has been made up the range will be ready for grazing.
  • When certain spring plants are just fading.

Problems with Range Readiness:

  1. If the range is composed of annual forage spp, then we cannot wait for range readiness especially in a continuous grazing system. It should be grazed during the active growing period under continuous grazing system.


Range Sampling means to select that portion from range area which is the representative of the whole area. This can be done by two methods of Sampling:

  1. Systematic Sampling
  2. Random Sampling

Sample Size Calculation:

The sample size is the no of observations ie plots made on measured characteristics like frequency, density, cover, abundance.
Range Sampling Formula - Forestrypedia
N = Number of observations or plots
t2 = Test Statistic like ANOVA or Chi-square /Tabulated value of t
S2 = Variance of sample size
K = Precision that is required
= Mean sample.



            The adaptation of grazing by livestock or wildlife is Range suitability.


  • It is the change in the direction of range conditions.
  • If the range conditions are improving than range trend will be upward and when the range conditions are declining then the range trend will be downward. And when the range conditions remain same then the range trend will be static.
  • Excellent or good range conditions with static trend are preferred.
  • Our management should be manipulated in such a way that range trend is upward.
    • Excellent Range conditions:

Range trend touches the highest pinnacle (highest peak).
Maximum species composition of decreaser with traces of increaser and invaders.
This condition is only possible if the stocking rates are low, the grazing intensity is lesser.

  • The Good Range Conditions:

Stocking rate has increased.
Grazing intensity is increased
Decreaser 50% or less
Increaser start increasing and invader are less than 25%

  • Fair Range Condition:

Increasers are dominant

  • Poor Range Conditions:

Maximum grazing intensity
Stocking rater higher
Animal are feeding on less nutritious feed
Range trend downward
Excellent Conditions are based on Climax Theory:
It is influenced by three major things:

  1. Animal reduces the leaf area
  2. Site affects the range condition
  3. When the range condition is poor primary succession may start.


  • Range trend is estimated by comparing the current range condition with the previous condition.
  • Apparent trend is judged by four factors; two from vegetation and two from soil surface conditions.

Vegetation Factors:

  1. Species Composition: Composition of increaser and decreaser if they contribute more invaders, then certainly no can be given _ let be 4; if the invader is much more than decreaser, the no 0 can be given so the range is (0-4). After visualizing the area the range trend is manipulated. It needs a complete ecological study.
  2. Reproduction:
    • It means what is the condition of newly germinated seeds/ seedlings. If they are established, what is their position?
    • If the seedling (decreaser) are healthy and vigor has given them no 4, otherwise 0 if the situation is reversed. The vigor can be judged from height and number of stems.

Range Soil Factors:

  1. Erosion:
    • if soil condition is unhealthy and erosion occur then allot 0 number
    • if the erosion is less, the general appearance is good then allot 4 number
    • The intermediate trend can be found between these two members.
  2. Litters:
    • If the soil is sufficiently covered with the litter layer, it is protected, erosion is 0. If all the scores become more than 12, we can say that the trend is upward.
    • When no change occurs in the range of conditions over time, range trend is static.


            It is the reverse process of succession. Deterioration of vegetation and soil due to an outside agency such as overgrazing and fire, etc


“A portion of range area which irrespective of sight is intentionally overgrazed to obtain efficient overall use of the range is Sacrifice area.”


            Provision of salt required by the livestock for growing season is Salting. Salting is necessary for proper distribution of animals over the area. By proper salting present capacity may increase by 19%. Amount of salt required by animals varies from season to season. In early growing seasons, more salt is required than the late growing season because protein content is greater in an early stage.

Location of Salting places:

  1. On accessible ridges, benches, openings of the forested area, on flat areas near shade.
  2. It should be at least 1 km away from water point to achieve proper distribution.
  3. On flat areas, less salting points are required as compared to steep area.
  4. Salting points should be changed from one grazing season to next.
  5. One salt ground should be established for each 30-40 animal units on the flat area; while for 25 animal units on rough terrain.


            “It is the season of grazing. It is that portion of the year when grazing is feasible on range area. Arid and semi-arid areas can be grazed throughout the year; therefore, the whole year there is the season of use rangelands”. On the other hand, alpine and subalpine rangelands can be grazed after snowmelt during summer, therefore, grazing season is in summer ie from June to September.


A patch of grass with soil planted from one place to another.


  • The proportion of various plant species in relation to the total on a given range.
  • Expressed in term of cover, weight, and density.
  • Range condition is estimated on the basis of spp composition of area compared to its potential
  • This is followed by Climax Approach Method.
  • Species composition can be calculated from cover forage production data, frequency, density can also be used.
  • The cover is estimated by:
  1. Steptoe Method.
  2. Point interception
  3. Parker’s loop
  4. Line interception
  5. From or Quadrat
  • Cover Percentage can be calculated as:

Species Composition - Range Management - Forestrypedia


To keep an animal in a stall while fattening it for slaughter. 2. Feeding emergency/ supplementary feeds to the livestock at one place in the manager.


  1. The actual number of animals exists on the specific range area for a period of time for a grazing period.
  2. In Alpine and Sub-alpine areas the season is limited to 4 months while in Thal it is the whole year.
  3. Stocking rate is calculated by carrying capacity of the area. When this number is put to grazing it is called Initial Stocking Rate.
  4. The number of animals shows us:
    1. Range Trend
    2. Range Conditions
    3. Range Utilization
  5. If the range condition is poor due to poor range trend than reduce the number of livestock which is ultimately the reduction in range utilization.

Estimation of Stocking Rates:

There are several ways for the estimation of stocking rates:

  1. Compare the range with a similar range that has been grazed for a long time at a known rate.
  2. Based on forage production with the help of Circular Quadrat/ Frame.


            That branch of Ecology that deals with the response of plant and animals as a group to their environment.

For correction and improvements please use the comments section below.

Naeem Javid Muhammad Hassani is working as Conservator of Forests in Balochistan Forest & Wildlife Department (BFWD). He is the CEO of Tech Urdu ( Forestrypedia (, All Pak Notifications (, Essayspedia, etc & their YouTube Channels). He is an Environmentalist, Blogger, YouTuber, Developer & Vlogger.

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