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African Journal of Range and Forage Science

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A comparison of some range condition assessment techniques used in Southern African grasslands.

Hurt C.R., Bosch O.J.H.

Abstract


Techniques currently used to assess range condition in the grassland biome of Southern Africa are reviewed. These indices were then used to evaluate each method in terms of sensitivity, index interpretation and efficiency, bearing in mind the objectives of each technique. The weighted key species method and degradation gradient method were found to currently provide the best indices for assessing range condition, and in this article the shortcomings of the techniques are recognized and suggestions are made for the application of these methods in different vegetation types; Techniques currently used to assess range condition in the grassland biome of southern Africa are reviewed. The methods were used to calculate range condition indices from fire-climax and climatic-climax grassland data. These indices were then used to evaluate each method in terms of sensitivity (i.e. the detection of spatio-temporal differences in index), index interpretation and efficiency, bearing in mind the objectives of each technique. The Weighted Key Species Method and Degradation Gradient Method were found to currently provide the best indices for assessing range condition. Shortcomings of the techniques are recognized and suggestions are made for the application of these methods in different vegetation types.Language: English

Keywords: Degradation gradient method; Grasslands; Grazing gradients; Indicator species; Ordination; Range conditions; Species responses; Techniques; Vegetation; Weighted key species method; condition indices; degradation; grazing gradient; key species; range condition; range condition assessment; vegetation types; grassland; efficiency; grassland biome; southern africa; method; objectives; degradation gradient; vegetation type; botany




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