Grazing Disturbance as a Tool to Enhance Rangeland Health
26 October 2015, 4:00pm
Dr Walter D. Willms, Adjunct Professor, Inner Mongolia Agricultural University
The management of native rangeland in Canada has followed a philosophical spectrum from the complete exclusion of cattle (conservation) to intensive grazing (maximizing production). These views arise from the context of an individual’s experience and their relationship to the land, and are fostered by a misunderstanding of the ecological processes and the role of herbivory in the ecosystem. Canada’s rangelands developed with disturbances from fire and bison impacts, which prevented the encroachment of trees onto grassland and maintained its biodiversity. This presentation will focus on selected studies that examine the impact of grazing by cattle, examine the role of litter (dead plant material) in the ecosystem and make an argument for its application at a time when bison have been extirpated and fires are actively suppressed.
Dr Willms received both a BS in Forestry and MSc from the University of British Columbia, specialising in wildlife management with a dissertation on the effect of forestry practices on the distribution of deer on Vancouver Island. His PhD (from the University of Alberta) focused on the potential conflicts between cattle and deer on rangeland and developing grazing strategies to mitigate the effects of cattle. He has worked as a research scientist in rangeland ecology with Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada from 1982 until his retirement in 2012. His general area of research has been on the effects of agriculture on the vegetation and soil of native grassland, with emphasis on grazing impacts. This investigation has also examined the effects of rangeland condition that determines cattle performance; particularly as influenced by winter grazing and water quality. His research has contributed to an understanding of how best to manage cattle for maintaining the health of the grassland ecosystem. He is currently an emeritus scientist and collaborates with Chinese colleagues in Inner Mongolia on grazing systems research and on studies to investigate the role of litter on grassland biodiversity and productivity. He has served as adjunct professor in the Department of Agriculture, Forestry, and Nutritional Science at the University of Alberta (2001 – 2013), in the Department of Geography at the University of Saskatchewan (2008 – 2013) and at the Inner Mongolia Agricultural University (2003 – present). He was presented with the Emerald Award for Research in 2001 and with the W. R. Chapline Research Award from the Society for Range Management for exceptional and sustained research accomplishments in range science.
The presentation will be conducted in English. Russian translation will be provided upon prior request.
University of Central Asia, 138 Toktogul Street, Bishkek, Kyrgyz Republic, 2nd Floor Conference Room.
* The views presented in this lecture are those of the presenter and not necessarily those of the University of Central Asia or any of its staff