Vegetation and soil response to grazing simulation on riparian meadows.

Clary, W.P.
Rangeland Ecology & Management / Journal of Range Management Archives
Publication Year: 
Riparian areas have not responded consistently to grazing systems, suggesting that more knowledge is needed to explain how different areas respond to specific stresses. Several studies were conducted to determine herbaceous plant response to simulated grazing on riparian areas. One low-elevation redtop (Agrostis stolonifera L.) site in Oregon and 2 high-elevation sedge (Carex spp. L.) sites in Idaho were studied for 3 years. Several combinations of defoliation, compaction, nutrient return, and season of use were examined. The redtop community responded to spring, fall, or spring-fall defoliations by maintaining or increasing the following year's aboveground biomass production. The sedge communities maintained or decreased the following years's biomass production after spring, mid summer, or late summer defoliations. An increase in forbs occurred in 1 sedge community following spring defoliations to 1- or 5-cm residual stubble heights. The most consistent plant response among areas was reduction in height growth and biomass production following compaction treatments. When both defoliation and compaction are considered, it appears that spring, fall, or spring and fall grazing to a 5-cm stubble height on the redtop site would not decrease riparian herbage production. In contrast, when defoliation, compaction, and nutrient return effects are considered in the mountain meadow sedge-dominated communities, grazing once annually during the growing season to a 5-cm stubble height in the spring, or to a 10-cm stubble height in late summer, or at a utilization rate exceeding 30% of the total annual biomass production can reduce herbage production significantly. Results suggest that many of the land management agency riparian guidelines would maintain biomass productivity in these sedge-dominated communities.
Document Type: 
Journal Issue/Article
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Rangeland Ecology & Management (formerly the Journal of Range Management) serves as a forum for the presentation and discussion of facts, ideas, and philosophies pertaining to the study, management, ecology, and use of rangelands and their resources. The journal is peer-reviewed and provides international exchange of scholarly research and information among persons interested in rangelands. The Global Rangelands collection includes REM content up to 5 years from the current year. More recent content is available by subscription from BioOne and the Society for Range Management, and may be available at your local university library.
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