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Impact of stocking rate on species diversity and composition of a subtropical grassland in Argentina

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Pizzio, Rafael and Herrero Jaúregui, Cristina and Pizzio, Mariano and Oesterheld, Martin (2016) Impact of stocking rate on species diversity and composition of a subtropical grassland in Argentina. Applied Vegetation Science, 19 (3). pp. 454-461. ISSN 1654-109X

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Official URL: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/avsc.12229/abstract



Abstract

Questions:
What is the effect of a range of controlled stocking rates on plant species richness and diversity?
Location:
Subtropical grasslands of Corrientes, Argentina, South America.
Methods:
We studied the effect of three controlled stocking rates (0.6, 0.8 and 1.0 cow equivalents (ha1) on species diversity and composition during 8 yr. We calculated species diversity using the antilog of the Shannon-Wiener index, and considered its two components, richness and evenness. We also assessed the proportion of prostrate and erect species. Species abundance was based on biomass estimations.
Results:
Species diversity under high stocking rates gradually decreased throughout the experiment and became nearly 50% lower than under low stocking rate. This decline was largely accounted for by changes of evenness
because species richness was not affected by stocking rates. Species composition clearly diverged among the three treatments over time. Low stocking rate maintained
a fairly constant relative cover of erect and prostrate grasses throughout the experiment, whereas intermediate and high stocking rate treatments were gradually and consistently enriched in prostrate grasses and forbs. These effects occurred simultaneously with drastic inter-annual changes likely driven by annual precipitation.
Conclusions:
The range of stocking rates had no effect on species richness, but reduced diversity through the effect on evenness. High stocking rate progressively increased the proportion of prostrate species in the
biomass.


Item Type:Article
Uncontrolled Keywords:Controlled livestock density; Evenness; Grazedvs ungrazed; Grazing intensity; Life forms;Species richness; Argentina
Subjects:Medical sciences > Biology > Ecology
Medical sciences > Biology > Environment
ID Code:41219
Deposited On:09 Feb 2017 14:19
Last Modified:09 Feb 2017 14:19

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