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Rein deer forage plants in the early grazing season growth and nutritional content in relation to climatic conditions






Acta Phytogeographica Suecica 70: 1-75

Rein deer forage plants in the early grazing season growth and nutritional content in relation to climatic conditions

How plants, grazed by reindeer in the early spring, survive the winter and develop their shoots and leaves, the environmental factors, mainly the local climate, which influence the early development of new biomass and the contents of nutrients (protein, sugar and minerals) in spring and autumn material were studied. The area of investigation was the reindeer range at Ottfjallet, the Lapp community of Handoelsdalen, western Jamtland, Sweden, where a large enclosure was operated partly for experimental purposes during the 1970's. Two sub-areas were studied, 1 in the forest and 1 in the alpine heathland. Local meteorology included year-long temperature determination above ground and in soil profiles and observation of snow conditions and the remarkably low intensity of soil frost under the sometimes very deep snow. Most forage plants showed some winter development beneath the snow but grew most rapidly during and after the thaw. Some plants were regarded as semi-evergreen. Quantitative investigations were made on the available above-ground biomass of 4 spp. [Carex bigelowii, Eriophorum vaginatum, Deschampsia flexuosa and Juncus trifidus] before, during and following the snow-melt. The nutrient content and other results and their importance to reindeer are discussed.

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Accession: 006292667



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