/e ~iI June 1992 Circular 1042
S..I. INSTITUTE OF FOOD AND AGRICULTURAL SCIENCES
Glossary of Terms Related to
Range Management in Florida
J. Jeffrey Mullahey and G.W. Tanner
Florida Cooperative Extension Service / Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences / University of Florida / John T._e oeste, an
Rangeland covers nearly 11,000,000 acres of
Florida, and it comprises about 45 percent of the
earth's land surface. Range is a major natural
resource in Florida and is vital for wildlife, water
recharge, water filtration (quality), and grazing by
domestic livestock. Range management is the disci-
pline of manipulating the use of range, based on
ecological principles, for a variety of purposes, in-
cluding use as watersheds, wildlife habitat, grazing
by livestock, recreation, and aesthetics.
Understanding the nomenclature or terminology
used in discussions and literature is essential for
understanding range management issues relative to
Florida. Resolving issues related to range manage-
ment often involves ranchers, government agencies,
university personnel, and/or private industry. Reso-
lution of issues among all participants can be en-
hanced by communication, and we hope that this
glossary will aid in the communication process by
providing some common language.
Animal-Unit. Is one mature cow of approximately
1,000 pounds, either dry or with calf up-to 6 months
of age, or their equivalent.
Animal-Unit-Day. The amount of forage on a dry-
matter basis required by one animal unit in one day,
based on a 26-pound forage allowance.
Animal-Unit-Month. The amount of dry forage re-
quired by one animal unit for one month. The term
AUM is commonly used when defining stocking rate,
as in "X acres per AUM."
Annual Plant. A plant that completes its life cycle
and dies in 1 year or less. Annual plants do not
'Assistant Professor and Associate Professor, respectively;
Department of Wildlife and Range Sciences, School of Forest
Resources andConservation, University of Florida,
grow the second season from roots or sim, b /
must start from seed. '
Available Forage. That portion of e forage produ /
tion that is accessible for use by li stock.
Backfiring. Ignition of a fire on the leewarcTdww.u-
wind) side of a burn area, resulting in a slow-moving
Biomass. The total amount of living plants above
and below ground in an area at a given time.
Browse. That part of leaf and twig growth of shrubs,
woody vines, and trees available for animal con-
Brush. Includes various species of shrubs or small
trees usually considered undesirable for livestock or
timber management. The same species may have
value for browse, wildlife habitat, or watershed pro-
Brush Control. Reduction of unwanted woody plants
through fire, chemicals, mechanical methods, or bio-
logical means to achieve desired land management
Brush Management. Managing and manipulating
woody plant cover on rangeland by mechanical,
chemical, or prescribed burning to increase quanti-
ties of herbaceous vegetation and/or obtain desired
quantities and types of woody cover.
Bunch Grass. A grass having the characteristic
growth habit of forming a bunch (e.g., chalky
bluestem, indiangrass); lacking stolen or rhizomes.
Calf Crop. The number of calves weaned from a
given number of cows exposed to breeding, usually
expressed in percent: i.e., number of cows exposed x
number of calves weaned 100 = percent calf crop.
Carrying Capacity. The maximum stocking rate pos-
sible year to year that is consistent with maintaining
or improving vegetation or related resources.
Class of Animal. Description of age and/or sex-
group for a particular kind of animal (e.g., cow, calf,
yearling, ewe, doe, fawn)
Climax. The final or stable biotic community in a
successional series that is self-perpetuating and in
dynamic equilibrium with the physical habitat.
Complementary Pasture. Short-term forage crop
(not necessarily annual) planted for use by livestock
to enhance the management and productivity of the
ranch (e.g., ryegrass, oats, millet)
Continuous Grazing. The grazing of rangeland by
livestock throughout a year or for that part of the
year during which grazing occurs. Continuous graz-
ing does not mean yearlong grazing.
Cool-Season Plant. A plant that generally makes
the major portion of its growth during the late fall,
winter, and early spring. Cool-season species gener-
ally exhibit the C3 photosynthetic pathway (e.g.,
ryegrass, crimson clover, wheat)
Cultivar. A named variety selected within a plant
species. Distinguished by any morphological, physi-
ological, cytological, or chemical characteristics,
that when reproduced retains its distinguishing
Decreaser. Plant species of the original or climax
vegetation that will decrease in relative amount with
continued disturbance to the norm (e.g., heavy defo-
liation, fire, drought). Plants generally produce good
quality, palatable forage.
Deferment. Postponing or delaying of livestock graz-
ing on an area for a prescribed period of time to re-
store vigor of decreaser plants and to provide for
plant reproduction (produce seed).
Deferred-Rotation. Any grazing system that pro-
vides for a systematic rotation of the deferment
Defoliation. The removal of plant material (leaves,
stems, or seedheads) by grazing or browsing, cutting,
chemical defoliant, or natural phenomena such as
hail, fire, or frost.
Degree of Use. The proportion of current year's for-
age production that is consumed and/or destroyed by
grazing animals. May refer either to a single species
or to the vegetation as a whole.
Ecology. The study of the interrelationships of organ-
isms with their environment.
Ecosystem. Organisms together with their abiotic
environment, forming an interacting system, inhabit-
ing an identifiable space.
Ecotype. A locally adapted population within a species
that has certain genetically determined characteristics.
Environment. The sum of all external conditions that
affect an organism or community to influence its de-
velopment or existence.
Firebreak. A natural or man-made barrier used to
prevent or retard the spread of fire.
Forage. Herbaceous plants that may provide food for
grazing animals or be harvested for feeding (e.g.. hay.
silage, haylage). Ll
Forage Production. The weight air-dry, green, or F3
oven-dry) of forage that is produced within a desig-
nated period of time on a given area. The term may
also be modified as to time of production suh as
annual, current year's, or seasonal forage production. LW.VK i
Forb. Broad-leafed plants with topgrowth that dies
back each year. Broad-leafed weeds and wild flowers
are examples of forbs.
Grasslike Plant. A plant that looks like a grass. but
has solid stems (not hollow) without joints. Stems are
often triangular. In this group are sedges and rushes.
Graze. The consumption of standing forage by live-
stock or wildlife.
Grazing Management. The manipulation of gazing
and browsing animals to accomplish a desired result.
Herbaceous. Vegetative growth that is relatively free
of woody tissue (e.g., grasses, forbs. grasslikes).
Herbage. Total aboveground biomass of herbaceous
plants regardless of grazing preference or availability.
Herbivore. An animal that subsists principally or
entirely on plants or plant materials.
Holistic Resource Management. Holistic Resource
Management (HRM) is a practical, goal-oriented ap-
proach to the management of the ecosystem. including
the human, financial, and biological resources on
farms, ranches, public and tribal lands, as well as na-
tional parks, vital water catchments and other areas.
HRM entails the use of a management model that in-
corporates a holistic view of land, people and dollars.
Increaser. Plant species of the original vegetation
that increase in relative amount, at least for a time,
under continued disturbance to the norm (e.g., heavy
defoliation, fire, drought). Plants tend to be less pal-
atable such as wiregrass, broomsedge, bluestem.
Invader. Plants that occupy range where decreaser
and increase plants have been removed or weak-
Key Species. Forage species of sufficient abundance
and palatability to justify its use as an indicator to
the degree of use of associated species. Those species
that must, because of their importance, be considered
in the management program.
Marsh. Flat, wet, treeless areas usually covered by
standing water and supporting a native growth of
grasses, grasslike plants, and forbs.
Multiple Use. Use of range for more than one pur-
pose: i.e., grazing of livestock, wildlife production,
recreation, watershed and timber production.
Native Species. A species that is part of the original
fauna or flora of the area in question.
Oven-Dry Weight. The weight of a plant after it has
been dried to equilibrium in an oven at a specific
temperature. Generally, all the water has been re-
moved from the plant, leaving only dry matter.
Overgrazing. Continued heavy grazing that exceeds
the recovery capacity of the community and creates a
Overstocking. Placing a number of animals on a
given area that will result in overuse if continued to
the end of the planned grazing period.
Palatability. The relish with which a particular spe-
cies or plant part is consumed by an animal.
Perennial Plant. Plants that live from year to year,
producing leaves and stems for more than 2 years
from that same crown.
Phenology. The study of periodic biological phenom-
ena that are recurrent, such as flowering and seed-
ing, especially as related to climate.
Plant Vigor. Plant health. Reflected in the size of a
plant and length and mass of rhizomes or stolons.
Preferred Plants. Plants that are preferred by ani-
mals and are grazed by first choice.
Prescribed Burning. Systematically planned burning
of a predetermined area when conditions (weather,
vegetation) permit maximum benefits.
Pristine. A state of ecological stability or condition
existing in the absence of direct disturbance by
Proper Grazing. The act of continuously obtaining
Range. Any land, including rangeland and grazable
woodland, supporting vegetation amenable to certain
range management practices (e.g., grazing).
Rangeland. Land on which the native vegetation is
predominantly grasses, grasslike plants, forbs, shrubs,
and trees suitable for grazing or browsing use.
Range Condition. The present state of vegetation of a
range site in relation to the climax (natural potential)
plant community for that site. It is an expression of
the relative degree to which the kinds, proportions,
and amounts of plants in a plant community resemble
that of the climax plant community for the site. Range
condition is basically an ecological rating of the plant
Range Condition Class. One of a series of arbitrary
categories used either to classify ecological status of
a specific range site in relation to its potential or to
classify management-oriented value categories for
specific potentials. Some agencies consider range
condition class in the context of Range Condition as
Percentage of climax
for the range site
76 to 100
51 to 75
26 to 50
0 to 25
Range Improvement. Any practice (burning, chop-
ping, grazing) designed to improve range condition or
facilitate more efficient utilization of the range.
Range Management. Manipulating the use of native
range, based on ecological principles, for a variety of
purposes including use as watersheds and wildlife
habitat, for grazing by livestock, for recreation,
aesthetics, as well as other associated uses.
Range Seeding. Establishing adapted plants by
seeding on rangelands to produce more desirable
forage and/or prevent soil erosion.
Range Site. An area of rangeland, different from
other kinds of rangeland, that has the ability to
produce and sustain distinctive kinds and amounts
of vegetation to result in a characteristic plant
community under its particular combination of en-
vironmental factors, particularly climate, soils, and
associated native biota.
Rhizome. An underground stem, usually horizon-
tal and capable of sending out roots and above-
ground shoots from the nodes.
Rotation Grazing. A grazing scheme where ani-
mals are moved from one grazing unit (paddock) in
the same group of grazing units to another without
regard to specific graze : rest periods or levels of
Roughage. Plant materials that are relatively
high in crude fiber and low in total digestible nu-
Short-Duration Grazing. Grazing management
whereby relatively short periods (days) of grazing
and associated non-grazing are applied to range or
pasture units. Periods of grazing and non-grazing
are based upon plant growth characteristics.
Shrub. Woody plants with stems that live from
one year to the next. It differs from a tree by its
low stature (generally less than 16 feet) and non-
arborescent form. Examples of shrubs include
saw-palmetto, wax myrtle, gallberry, and lyonia.
Stocking Density. The relationship between num-
ber of animals and area of land at any instant of
time. It may be expressed as animal-units per
acre, animal-units per section, or AU/ha.
Stocking Rate. The number of specific kinds and
classes of animals grazing or utilizing a unit of land
for a specified time period. May be expressed as ani-
mal unit months or animal unit days per acre, hect-
are, or section, or the reciprocal (area of land/animal
unit month or day).
Trend (Range Trend). The direction of change in
range condition described as either up, down, or not
apparent. Up represents a change toward climax or
potential natural community; down represents a
change away from climax or potential natural com-
munity; and not apparent indicates there is no recog-
nizable change. This category is often recorded as
static or stable.
Vegetation. Plants in general. or the sum total of the
plant life above and below ground in an area.
Vegetative. Relating to nutritive and groxwt func-
tions of plant life in contrast to sexual reproductive
Warm-Season Plant. A plant that makes most or all
its growth during the spring, summer. or fall, and is
usually dormant in winter. Most Florida range
grasses (bluestems, indiangrass. maidencanet are
Water Table. The upper surface of ground water.
or that level below which the soil is saturated with
Wetlands. Areas characterized by soils that are usu-
ally saturated or ponded: i.e.. hydric soils thit sup-
port mostly water-loving plants Ihydrophytic plants).
Society for Range Management. Glossary Revision
Special Committee, Publications Committee. 1989.
A glossary of terms used in range management.
U.S. Department of Agriculture. 1985. Field office
technical guide section IV-C. Soil Conservation
Service, Gainesville, Florida.
COOPERATIVE EXTENSION SERVICE, UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA. INSTITUTE OF FOOD AND AGRICULTURAL SCIENCES. John T.Woeste.
Director, in cooperation with the United States Department of Agriculture, publishes this information to further the purpose of the May 8 and June
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is available from C.M. Hinton, Publications Distribution Center, IFAS Building 664, University of Florida. Gainesville. Florida 326 1. Before publiczing
this publication, editors should contact this address to determine availability. Printed 6/92.