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Grazing effects on forb diversity and abundance in a honey mesquite parkland

Grazing effects on forb diversity and abundance in a honey mesquite parkland

Journal of Arid Environments 68(4): 668-677

Livestock grazing is the most common use of rangelands, and overgrazing by domestic livestock has stirred Much debate concerning the continued use of public rangelands for livestock production. With the increase of wildlife-related enterprises on south Texas rangelands, there are little data available on the compatibility of livestock and wildlife management and in particular the effects of livestock grazing on plant communities in the semi-arid portions of the western South Texas Plains. The objective of this study was to compare forb diversity and density oil rangelands subjected to various grazing under a high-intensity, low-frequency grazing system and nongrazed rangelands under controlled conditions. Four rangeland sites that were moderately grazed during the dormant season and 4 rangeland sites receiving long-term deferment from grazing were selected on the Chaparral Wildlife Management Area, Dimmit and La Salle Counties, Texas. Forb density was estimated with 20 x 50 cm(2) quadrats during early spring 2000 and 2001. Forb diversity was greatest on grazed sites. Important annuals such as hooker plantain (Plantago hookeriana) and Rough buttonweed (Diodia teres) were more prevalent on grazed sites. Lazy daisy (Aphanostephus spp.) was more frequently encountered on nongrazed sites. Golden dalea (Dalea altrea), a beneficial perennial, was more common on grazed sites. Long-term deferment from livestock grazing appears detrimental to forb communities. A high-intensity, low-frequency grazing system utilizing moderate stocking rates employed during the dormant season is recommended for enhancing forb diversity and abundance.

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Accession: 012977416

Download citation: RISBibTeXText

DOI: 10.1016/j.jaridenv.2006.08.003

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