Spatiotemporal dynamics of cattle behavior and resource selection patterns on East African rangelands: evidence from GPS-tracking

Chuan Liao, Patrick E. Clark, Mohamed Shibia, Stephen D. DeGloria

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Scopus citations


Characterizing cattle behavior is crucial to inferring fine-scale resource selection patterns and improving rangeland management. However, our understanding of cattle behavior and resource selection on the extensive African rangelands suffers from a lack of quantitative, continuous and inter-seasonal monitoring of cattle movement. Based on integration of GPS-tracking and field observations, this study links cattle behavioral types with statistical parameters of movement, analyzes spatiotemporal dynamics of behavior and predicts resource selection patterns in Borana Zone of southern Ethiopia. We find that different cattle behavioral types were associated with distinct ranges of movement velocity. Distribution of identified cattle behavior varied substantially within the day and along the distance gradient from camp locations. Vegetation greenness, topography, study site, herding strategy and season were dominant factors influencing foraging areas selection by cattle. Research findings suggested that extensive herding through camp relocation can promote forage uptake while reducing energy spent on traveling. Future modeling of cattle resource selection needs to be based on longer-term GPS-tracking data and incorporate additional social, environmental, institutional and cultural factors to better interpret the complexity associated with cattle behavior in extensive grazing systems.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1523-1540
Number of pages18
JournalInternational Journal of Geographical Information Science
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 3 2018


  • Cattle behavior
  • Ethiopia
  • GPS-tracking
  • pastoralism
  • resource selection
  • spatiotemporal dynamics

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Information Systems
  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Library and Information Sciences


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