Exotic grasses and wildlife in northern Mexico

J. Alfonso Ortega-S, Fernando A. Ibarra-Flores, Alicia Melgoza, Eduardo A. Gonzalez-Valenzuela, Martha H. Martin-Rivera, J. Miguel Avila-Curiel, Felix Ayala-Alvares, Carmelo Pinedo, Otilia Rivero

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations

Abstract

Seeding exotic grasses remains a common practice to increase forage production for cattle in northern Mexico. Even while interest in wildlife conservation and management has been increasing since the late 1990s because of the economic value of wildlife for sport hunting, cattle production still represents an important part of the ranch income. Our objective was to review the available information on exotic grasses and its effect on native rangelands and wildlife. To obtain the information included in this article, we reviewed the published information and personal information and observations. Ranchers need to balance and make commitments to optimize cattle and wildlife economic output. In general, the negative perception of biologists, ranchers, and the general public toward exotic grasses is less pronounced than in the United States even when the ecological benefits of maintaining healthy native rangelands is well-understood. Differences in primary productivity and domestic animal production between exotic and native grasses are well-documented; however, information on impacts of exotic grasses on wildlife is extremely limited. The preservation of native rangelands is important; however, exotic grasses will continue to be seeded in northern Mexico as long as cattle production remains an important economic activity. Exotic grasses inmany cases will be impossible to eradicate; therefore, management will be necessary to ensure optimization of habitat for livestock and wildlife species. In this context many research questions need to be answered to optimize domestic livestock production and maintain healthy wildlife populations. Governments, non-governmental organizations, and other entities interested in conservation should combine efforts and develop incentive programs for ranchers to preserve native rangelands in Mexico and to avoid seeding exotic grasses.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)537-545
Number of pages9
JournalWildlife Society Bulletin
Volume37
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 2013

Keywords

  • Cattle
  • Exotic grasses
  • Mexico
  • Wildlife

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