An international terminology for grazing lands and grazing animals


V.G. Allen, C. Batello, E.J. Berretta, J. Hodgson, M. Kothmann, X. Li, J. McIvor, J. Milne, C. Morris, A. Peeters, M. Sanderson, The Forage and Grazing Terminology Committee


Date de publication/Publication date: 
February, 2011



In 1991, Terminology for Grazing Lands and Grazing Animals was published with the objective of ‘developing a consensus of clear definitions of terms used in the grazing of animals.’ This first effort involved primarily organiza- tions and agencies within the USA but included repre- sentation from New Zealand and Australia. It was the intent from the beginning to expand this to a truly international effort at a later date. At the XVII Interna- tional Grassland Congress (IGC), held jointly in New Zealand and Australia in 1993, a resolution was passed at the final business meeting as follows: ‘It is recommended that the International Grassland Congress endorse the continuing development of uniformity of terminology for grazing systems and grazing management, and that the Forage and Grazing Terminology Task Force report progress at the XVIII Congress.’ During the XVIII IGC, held in Canada in 1997, a new Terminology working group, chaired by Mort Kothmann, was formed to begin discussions regarding the first revision of this publication. As was the objective from the beginning, this first revision was to be international in scope and a focused effort was made to include broad international represen- tation and expertise.
Preliminary work by the working group was accom- plished during the next few years. In 2000, Termi- nology became the first project to be jointly supported by the IGC and the International Rangeland Congress (IRC) and a new Terminology Committee was jointly appointed by Bob Clements (Chair, IGC Continuing Committee) and Maureen Wolfson (President, IRC Continuing Committee). Work of the Terminology Committee progressed leading up to the first joint meeting of the IGC and the IRC in Hohhot, Inner Mongolia in the Peoples Republic of China. At the meeting in 2008, resolutions were passed by both the IGC and the IRC requesting that Terminology for Grazing Lands and Grazing Animals be completed and presented at both the IX IRC in Argentina in 2011 and the XXII IGC in Australia in 2013. With the completion of this revision in 2010, the wishes of both congresses will be fulfilled.
As with the first edition of Terminology, our objective has been to develop a consensus of terms and defi- nitions to ensure clear international communication regarding grazing lands and grazing animals. Terms included here have relevance to both domesticated and wild grazing animals. It is intended that these terms enhance communication in education, science, indus- try and production and that they become the standard for use in publications. It has been our goal to include terms that are relevant specifically to grazing lands and grazing animals and to present these, where appropri- ate, in a hierarchy that shows the relationships among such terms. For example, certain terms such as ‘grazing land’ are all-inclusive and are then followed by terms relating to the various types of grazing lands. We have attempted to agree on a single, concise definition for each term and to avoid multiple definitions. Variations among terms used in countries where English is one of the official languages were taken into account. Because of international variations in a few terms, we have included a list of the various international interpreta- tions in an Appendix but have recommended the use of a specific term and definition. It is hoped that this will take us towards a more uniform international language. In the case of most terms and definitions, we have arrived at a consensus opinion. In a few cases, use will be needed to see whether these will stand the test of time. We hope that in such cases, we have taken the steps to move the language forward towards more precise and meaningful terms and definitions. Finally, as we reviewed terms and definitions, there were some that did not appear to contribute to clear commu- nication. We have listed these in an Appendix and provided an explanation for our recommendation that they are not used.
Ours is a living language that will continue to evolve as new concepts emerge, techniques and methods change, and our international language becomes more precise. Thus, the mechanism established by the IGC and the IRC for periodic review and revision of Terminology for Grazing Lands and Grazing Animals must be continued but with sufficient time between revisions to allow for adequate testing to see where terms are missing and revisions are required.
Finally, on behalf of the International Forage and Grazing Lands Terminology Committee, we are sub- mitting this International Terminology for Grazing Lands and Grazing Animals to the IGC and the IRC with our appreciation for the challenge and opportunity that you have entrusted to us. It has been a privilege and an honour to serve.