The article considers the problem of using forage lands in pasture livestock farming in the context of increasing pasqual digression in the southern regions of Russia. The research is aimed at the study of the ability of vegetation cover of natural arid pastures different in degree of degradation to self-recovery. For this purpose, within three years, comparative field studies of the dynamics of yields, species composition, total projective cover (TPC) of pasture phytocenoses on pastures used by animals in grazing and on isolated pasture areas were carried out. The study results have shown the following in all isolators: an increase in TPC of grass stand by 6-39%; an increase in the grass stand productivity 3-5 times, and enrichment of the species composition by 2-7 species in comparison with grazing fields (except for Plot No. 4). On the pasture with a very badly disturbed ecosystem, there was no change in species composition in isolation. Thus, the process of self-recovery of the grass stand on semi-desert natural pastures (with 1-3 points of ecosystem damage) in the arid zone of the south of Russia was recorded from the first year of isolation from grazing with a livestock load of no more than 3.0 a.u./ha. © 2018, Pharmainfo Publications. All rights reserved.