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Grazing History, Defoliation, and Frequency-Dependent Competition: Effects on Two North American Grasses

Elizabeth L. Painter, James K. Detling and David A. Steingraeber
American Journal of Botany
Vol. 76, No. 9 (Sep., 1989), pp. 1368-1379
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2444561
Page Count: 12
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Since scans are not currently available to screen readers, please contact JSTOR User Support for access. We'll provide a PDF copy for your screen reader.
Grazing History, Defoliation, and Frequency-Dependent Competition: Effects on Two North American Grasses
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Abstract

Agropyron smithii and Bouteloua gracilis plants from intensively grazed prairie dog colonies and from a grazing exclosure in Wind Cave National Park, South Dakota, were used to compare responses of conspecific populations with different histories of exposure to grazing and to competition for light. In separate experiments for each species, plants grown in monocultures and two-population replacement-series mixtures were used to examine effects of defoliation, frequency-dependent competition, and population on biomass and morphology. Colony and exclosure plants frequently responded differently. Defoliation more often adversely affected exclosure plants than colony plants, while interpopulation competition more often adversely affected colony plants. Defoliation frequently negated the competitive advantage of exclosure plants. Intrapopulation competition appeared to be greater among exclosure than colony plants. Our results indicate that conclusions based on studies of plants in long-term exclosures may not apply to plant populations having long histories of intensive grazing. While there were differences between species, in both, these experiments provide evidence of population differentiation, resulting in morphologically dissimilar populations which responded differently to defoliation and to inter- and intrapopulation competition.

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