Intensification of livestock farming in times of climate change: The challenges of domestic grazing in the drylands of the Argentine Patagonia

Laura Yahdjian, Lucas J. Carboni, Sergio Velasco Ayuso, Gaston R. Oñatibia


Livestock grazing modifies and even degrades arid ecosystems, which threatens the sustainability of livestock farming itself. It is essential to learn more about the effects of grazing on vegetation and soil to design strategies to avoid desertification, perhaps the most serious problem faced by drylands. In this paper, we evaluate the changes in the functional traits of the plant community and the biological soil crust induced by the intensification of grazing in Patagonian ecosystems. This description, together with changes in diversity, plant composition, and ecosystem functioning, can help us to understand the mechanisms by which the intensification of sheep grazing could degrade arid ecosystems.


Patagonian steppe; functional diversity; biological soil crusts; sheep production; desertification

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