Classifying ecological types and evaluating site degradation.

Weixelman, D.A.
Zamudio, D.C.
Zamudio, K.A.
Tausch, R.J.
Rangeland Ecology & Management / Journal of Range Management Archives
Publication Year: 
An analytical method for classifying ecological types was developed and tested for mountain meadows in central Nevada. Six ecological types were identified by plot sampling of vegetation and soil-site variables. Two-way indicator species analysis and canonical correspondence analysis were used to identify ecological types and to compare the discriminating abilities of different ecosystem components. Each ecological type was a characteristic combination of landform, soil, and vegetation. Changes in vegetation and soil conditions were assessed along a gradient of degradation within one ecological type--the dry graminoid/Cryoboroll/trough drainageway type. Direct gradient analysis was used to display changes in plant composition and indicators of site degradation. Plant and soil indicators of degradation were basal cover of vegetation, standing crop production of 3 key grass species, rates of infiltration, and soil compaction. Three states of range degradation were identified along the gradient. The grass-dominated state was the most desirable in terms of forage production, basal cover of vegetation and infiltration, while the grass/forb/shrub state represented the most degraded and least productive state.
Document Type: 
Journal Issue/Article
Society for Range Management

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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