Overgrazing occurs when plants are exposed to intensive grazing for extended periods of time, or without sufficient recovery periods. It can be caused by either livestock in poorly managed agricultural applications, or by overpopulations of native or non-native wild animals.
Overgrazing reduces the usefulness, productivity, and biodiversity of the land and is one cause of desertificationand erosion. Overgrazing is also seen as a cause of the spread of invasive species of non-native plants and ofweeds.
Overgrazing is used as the canonical example of the Tragedy of the commons. Sustainable grassland productionis based on grass and grassland management, land management, animal management, and livestock marketing. Grazing management, with sustainable agriculture and agroecology practices, is the foundation of grassland-based livestock production since it affects both animal and plant health and productivit