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The Effects of Grazing Management on the Vegetation of Mesotrophic (Meadow) Grassland in Northern England
R. S. Smith and S. P. Rushton
Journal of Applied Ecology
Vol. 31, No. 1 (Feb., 1994), pp. 13-24
Published by: British Ecological Society
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2404595
Page Count: 12
You can always find the topics here!Topics: Species, Vegetation, Meadows, Grazing, Grazing management, Grasses, Applied ecology, Biomass, Seed banks, Plants
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1. Haymeadows in the Yorkshire Dales and the North Pennines in Northern England are grazed with cattle and sheep outside the 2-3-month summer period, when a hay or silage crop is grown. Experimental exclosures were used from August 1987 to June 1991 to prevent this grazing for various periods in the year in a meadow at Ravenstonedale, Cumbria. Vegetation change was investigated using biomass samples taken in June of each year. 2. Experimental treatments were: (i) no grazing at any time of the year; (ii) no grazing from the time of the hay cut until 1 January; (iii) no grazing from 1 January to the time of the hay cut; (iv) control plots in which the normal grazing regime was followed each year. All other management factors were kept constant. 3. All plots showed vegetation changes related to treatment and to time. The main trend was the treatment effect, with the greatest reduction in species richness occurring in the ungrazed plots. Changes in the species composition of the plots were associated with species' strategies (sensu Grime 1979) in the established and regenerative phase. 4. The results are discussed in the context of management designed to manipulate plant species composition in old meadowland.
Journal of Applied Ecology © 1994 British Ecological Society