Cover Image
close this book Grazing and rangeland development for livestock production
close this folder Management of rangelands and other grazing lands of the tropics and subtropics for support of livestock production. Technical Series Bulletin No. 23
close this folder III. Coping with constraints affecting forage production and utilization on rangelands, sod other Permanent Grasslands
View the document 1. Climatic constraints.
View the document 2. Soil degradation.
Open this folder and view contents 3. Depletion of plant cover.
Open this folder and view contents 4. Unbalanced animal nutrition on depleted grazing lands.
View the document 5 Overstocking and overgrazing.
View the document 6. Lack of stored feeds, and/or reserved grazing lands to support livestock in dry seasons.
View the document 7. Uncontrolled burning.

7. Uncontrolled burning.

Controlled burning to reduce occupation of rangelands by woody bush and scrubby trees may be useful, when it is done under conditions that minimize any damage to desirable forage plants, particularly grasses and herbaceous legumes. However, the yearly burning, that is widespread in savanna lands and occasionally in semi-desert rangelands of the tropics and subtropics, is destructive, and contributes to continuing degradation of such grazing areas. Indiscriminate burning during the dry season is practiced by herdsmen for the sake of the short-term benefits of nutritious green grass that may be grazed soon after the rains begin. When there is no control; fires are started and allowed to burn as long as dry plant material is available.

By contrast, controlled burning is allowed when the fire will destroy the maximum of useless woody growth and do the minimum amount of damage to desirable forage species. Fires should be allowed only when winds and humidity are favorable on the selected areas, and where fire control is made feasible by firebreaks or natural barriers. Controlled burning is beneficial only when it constitutes a conservation measure, and on limited areas to minimize danger to wildlife and domestic livestock. It must be directed by specialists who are skilled in using this drastic practice. It should be prohibited at the hands of herdsmen