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Slope, aspect, and slope position as factors controlling grassland communities in the coulees of the Oldman River, Alberta

Slope, aspect, and slope position as factors controlling grassland communities in the coulees of the Oldman River, Alberta

Canadian Journal of Botany 65(7): 1371-1378

Vegetation and environmental variables were examined in some coulees of the Oldman River near Lethbridge, Alta. Principal components analysis of environmental variables indicated that solar energy aspect, soil Mg2+, NH4+, and moisture were related to the first axis of variation. Slope position, soil NO3-, moisture, K+, NH4+, and amount of bare ground were related to a second axis of variation. There was a large range in species diversity among plots; most diverse plots were on north-facing slopes. Direct ordination of vegetation data indicated that slope position and aspect were most important in describing distribution of species. Koeleria macrantha, Bouteloua gracilis, Stipa comata, and Artemisia frigida were found on most coulee positions. Hymenoxys richardsonii, Machaeranthera grindeloides, Astragalus spatulatus, and Eriogonum flavum were mostly restricted to summit and upper slope positions. Anemone patens, Geum triflorum, Thermopsis rhombifolia, and others were most abundant on north- and east-facing slopes. Fewer species (e.g., the C4 Aristida longiseta and the cactus Coryphantha vivipara) were mostly confined to south-facing positions.

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Accession: 001684978

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DOI: 10.1139/b87-189

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