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Spatial and Temporal Characteristics of Grassland Agroecosystems
C. T. Dougherty
Department of Plant and Soil Sciences
Grazing system research is often limited in application because we have not been able to determine where, when, and how livestock are grazing in a grassland landscape that ranges from less than an acre to many thousands of acres, over as little as a few hours to many years. This problem may be addressed by monitoring where the animals are and what they are doing. It may also be addressed by careful sampling of pasture and soil transects and the application of advanced statistical techniques to introduce the dimensions of space and time to the defining data of grassland landscapes. This information will help determine the variables and sampling procedures needed to define the spatial and temporal properties of grassland landscapes.
Spatial statistics can be used to minimize the number of variables needed to define grassland landscapes in space and time. Application of spatial analysis should lead to better experimental designs and reduce the cost of grazing system research compared with those operating under classical designs. These procedures will reinforce research and models necessary to ensure the continued sustainability and profitability of grassland livestock enterprises as well as address present day and future environmental issues.