Journal Highlights

Critical Role of Grazing Animals in an Ecosystem

Research Spotlight—

Scientists model the effect of horses, cattle, sheep, and goats on local environments and global climate.

The sight of animals—horses, cattle, sheep, and goats—grazing in a field or pasture is pleasantly bucolic. But in addition to being picturesque, these herbivores play a critical role in local and global ecosystems. For example, the presence of grazing herbivores is known to have an effect on plant health and productivity, biodiversity and species composition, nutrient cycling, and other processes. Also, because grass has a higher albedo than bare soil, grazing reduces the amount of sunlight that is reflected back into Earth’s atmosphere, which impacts the global climate....more

-- Sarah Witman, Freelance Writer,