Modeling animal movement to manage landscapes Public Deposited

http://ir.library.oregonstate.edu/concern/graduate_thesis_or_dissertations/mc87pt36z

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  • Managing rangelands with livestock grazing is a tool that can be applied to obtain vegetation management objectives. Animals utilize available resources, which vary in quantity and quality, across the landscape. Their movements are adjusted to the spatial and temporal heterogeneity of resource distribution. Controlling livestock distribution is fundamental to economically and ecologically sustainable livestock production systems on range and pasturelands. Having an understanding of animal movements in relations to scale will help develop strategies to better management livestock over entire landscapes. The research site was the Sierra Foothill Research and Extension Center (SFREC) in Marysville, California. The study was conducted on four annual rangeland pastures, average 25 hectares each. Two 20 cow herds grazed one pair of pastures one week and the pair the following week during January, March, April-May and August, during 2001, 2002, and 2003. Beef cow locations, turning angles, travel paths, and travel speed were determined with six cows in each of two herds of 20 cows equipped with global positioning collars. Individual measurements were recorded at five-minute intervals throughout the entire 5-7 days, recording longitude and latitude positions, date, time, elevation and a general measurement of horizontal and vertical activity. Cattle positions were analyzed to determine the fractal dimensions of movement and then modeled to determine what landscape attributes affected this movement. Domains of scale were detected whereas cattle movement at smaller ranges (< 40 meters) was less tortuous than at the larger ranges, 40 to 200 meters. Animal activities (grazing, resting and cruising) were also affected by landscape attributes. The research provided an understanding of how to apply spatial models of livestock movements that will aid in managing cattle distribution. Understanding how the ecological attributes and managerial options can affect distribution can lead to a better understanding of methods to manipulate cattle movement.
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