Rangeland management

Remote sensing in evaluating the environmental impact of rangeland management

Funding agency: Belgian Federal Science Policy (BELSPO), within the Research Programme for Earth Observation STEREO

Research associate: Claudia De Pus

Promoter: Robert De Wulf

Duration: 12/2003 – 09/2005


Project objectives

The principal objective of this project is "the development of a software application to monitor the impact of rangeland management".  Rangeland management refers to the decisions that determine the grazing pressure on the paddocks such as the organization of the grazing (e.g. continuous grazing versus cell grazing), redistribution of the pressure (e.g. fencing, spelling, installing new bores) and vegetation control (e.g. controlled burning). When grazing pressure on paddocks becomes too high different processes can take place:

  • shift in cover: increase of percentage bare ground
  • shift in species with a turnover from perennial species to annual species. These annual species usually lose their nutritious value within a few weeks and are much less effective in protecting the soil against erosion during the first storms at the beginning of the wet season
  • shift in vegetation type. Of main importance is the bush encroachment due to the lack of fire as a management tool

When looking at the impact of the rangeland management, it is important to quantify these processes.

Project partners

  • Agriculture and Veterinary Intelligence and Analysis (Avia-GIS BVBA) www.avia-gis.com
  • FORSIT, Research Unit – University of Ghent (UGent, Belgium)