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The Center for Native Grasslands Management

Title: Managing grassland for production, the environment and the landscape. Challenges at the farm and the landscape level
Year: 2005
Author(s): Gibon, A.
Source Title: Livestock Production Science
Source Type: Journal
pages: 11-31
Original Publication: http://  
Abstract: Grasslands are increasingly considered not only for their contribution to livestock production but also in their various functions with respect to the environment and the landscape. There is an accumulation of scientific evidence about the environmental functions of grasslands, such as their role in the conservation of biodiversity, in the regulation of physical and chemical fluxes in ecosystems, and the mitigation of pollution. Their role in the maintenance of landscapes of value is also important for reasons of landscape amenity and cultural heritage. To introduce the challenges these functions bring for grassland management to both science and practice, a description of the benefits currently expected from grasslands and their role in agri-environmental and landscape public policies is given. The current scientific understanding of grassland dynamics in relation to management is then briefly addressed. An analysis of the changes occurring in grassland management practice and research in reference to the whole farm and the landscape is then provided. The diversity of grasslands and their spatial arrangement within a farm and the landscape appear from this analysis as two emergent factors of major importance in the search for sustainable development of livestock farms and the environment. The practical consequences on both livestock farmer practice and the direction of animal production research are discussed.