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Glossary of terms for managing wholes

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desertification - The process by which formerly productive land turns into desert. Symptoms include increased incidence of flood and drought, declining biomass and soil organic matter, and increased bare ground. Though rainfall may remain constant, plant and animal communities shift to those more tolerant of low moisture, and biodiversity declines.

Related terms: biodiversity loss, succession

Related pages: "Desertification", "Environmental restoration"

Desertification [is] itself only a symptom of a larger problem-the loss of biodiversity (the diversity of species, the genetic diversity within them, their age structure and, in general, the mass of life, or "biomass," present). Day by day, and acre by acre, as an environment loses biomass, diversity of species, genetic variation and age structure, it gradually loses vigor until, like the cancer victim, it dies. When, at death's door, we finally take notice, we refer to the skeletal remains as "desertification."

--Allan Savory

destructive grazing - Grazing that damages plants, and therefore land. Grassland plants coevolved with herding grazers, and are well adapted to severe grazing. It won't hurt them as long as they get an adequate recovery period before getting grazed again. Too-frequent grazing weakens and may kill them. See overgrazing for details.

Related terms: regenerative grazing

Related pages: "Grazing and overgrazing"

destructive rest - Resting of land from disturbances such as grazing, trampling, and fire, sufficiently long to cause ecosystem damage. Destructive rest is almost entirely confined to brittle and semi-brittle environments,.

Related terms: regenerative rest, rest, overrest, R.I.P. rest, brittleness

disturbance - Processes such as fire, grazing, soil compaction from vehicle tires or animal movement, trampling, bulldozing, and landslides, which physically disrupt and alter a landscape. Prolonged rest from disturbance allows some types of ecosystems to flourish, but damages others.

Related terms: brittleness, herd effect, animal impact

Related pages: "Brittleness" (articles)

dry matter - Feed or forage weight less the weight of the water it contains.

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Posted 23 April 2003