Range Condition

 Knowledge Nuggets | Fact Sheets | Research Papers
Knowledge Nuggets
  • Range condition describes the current state of the vegetation compared with that of the climax or original vegetation for the range site. Range condition is used to measure deterioration or improvement in the plant community.
  • Range condition classes indicate how far the vegetation has changed from the climax or original cover. Rating is based on weight of vegetation, so knowledge of the vegetation and its reaction to grazing is essential.
  • Four classes of range condition are used to express how much the composition of the present plant community has changed from that of the climax community. The four condition classes, based on the percentage of climax vegetation are:
      Condition Class Percent of Climax Vegetation
      Poor 0-25%
  • Changes in range condition occur mainly through prolonged, heavy grazing with inadequate recovery time. A series of wet or dry years may also cause changes in range condition.
  • Range condition classes are relative. If a range site is described as being in good condition, the description is relative to the kind and amount of native vegetation that particular site is capable of producing.
  • To assist in determining range condition, plant species are grouped as decreasers, increasers, or invaders, based on their response to grazing by livestock.
  • Decreasers are species that decrease in relative abundance under continued heavy use. They are palatable and are dominant plant species in the climax community.
  • Increasers are species that normally increase in relative abundance as the decreasers decline. They are commonly shorter, less productive species that are present in the climax community. These species initially increase under heavy use, but may later decrease if grazing pressure continues.
  • Invaders are species that are not present in the climax community. They invade the site as grazing or disturbance reduces decreasers and increasers.
Fact Sheets

Economics of Managing Crested Wheatgrass Pastures Infested With Wolf Plants - available in PDF format only

Rangeland Health Assessment for Grassland, Forest and Tame Pasture - available in PDF format only

Managing Saskatchewan Rangeland - available in PDF format only

Research Papers

A comparison of soil chemical characteristics in modified rangeland communitiies - available in PDF format only

Effect of grazing and abandoned cultivation on a Stipa-Bouteloua Community - available in PDF format only

Effect of Standing Litter on rough Fescue Utilization by Cattle - available in PDF format only

Forage quality of seeded native pastures in the fall season on the Canadian Priaire Provinces - available in PDF format only

Grazing effects on germinable seeds on the fescue prairie - available in PDF format only

Grazing Effects on Snow Accumulation on Range Fescue Grasslands - available in PDF format

Plant production after defoliation of native, Northern Mixed Prairie on hommocky terrain in Saskatchewan - available in PDF format only

Production Characteristics of the Mixed Prairie: Constraints and Potential

Soil carbon, nitrogen and phosphorus in modified rangeland communities - available in PDF format only

Soil chemical properties during succession from abandoned cropland to native range - available in PDF format only

Stability of grazed patches on rough fescue grasslands - available in PDF format only

Surface runoff response of native and introduced grasses under simulated rainfall in southern Alberta - available in PDF format only

Vegetation and soil responses to short-duration grazing on fescue grasslands - available in PDF format only
  For more information about the content of this document, contact Grant Lastiwka.
This document is maintained by Linda Hunt.
This information published to the web on September 23, 2003.
Last Reviewed/Revised on October 16, 2015.

Home | Contact Us | Privacy Statement
The user agrees to the terms and conditions set out in the Copyright and Disclaimer © 2003 - 2018 Her Majesty the Queen