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Seedbank Diversity in Grazing Lands of the Northeast United States

Benjamin F. Tracy and Matt A. Sanderson
Journal of Range Management
Vol. 53, No. 1 (Jan., 2000), pp. 114-118
DOI: 10.2307/4003401
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/4003401
Page Count: 5
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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.
Seedbank Diversity in Grazing Lands of the Northeast United States
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Abstract

We evaluated the species composition of soil seed banks from 9 farms (36 pastures total) located in the northeast United States. Our objective was to quantify the soil seed bank composition of pastures managed for intensive grazing and hay production. Seeds from pasture soils were allowed to germinate in a greenhouse under natural light conditions. Seedlings were identified as they germinated, and the experiment was concluded after 4 months. Germinable seed was dominated by annual (40%) and perennial (23%) forbs most of which contributed little useful forage for cattle. Perennial grasses (11%), except for bluegrass (Poa pratensis L.), were largely absent from the germinable seed bank, while legumes (19%) were more abundant. Seed bank species composition showed little similarity (44%) to the existing vegetation. Exceptions were bluegrass, white clover (Trifolium repens L.), and common dandelion (Taraxacum officinale Weber ex Wiggers). These species were abundant in both the germinable seed bank and existing vegetation on most pastures. Overall, our study suggests that seed banks in these northeast pastures support abundant white clover and bluegrass seed, both of which are important forages for cattle. Soil seed banks, however, will not supply a diverse assemblage of useful forages. If a manager seeks to establish diverse, mixed-species pasture, then re-seeding pastures with desired mixes may be the best option. /// Evaluamos la composición de especies del banco de semillas del suelo de 9 granjas (36 potreros en total) localizadas en el noreste de Estados Unidos. Nuestro objetivo fue cuantificar la composición del banco de semillas del suelo de potreros manejados con apacentamiento intensivo y producción de heno. Las semillas de los potreros se germinaron en invernadero bajo condiciones de luz natural. Las plántulas se identificaron conforme germinaron y el experimento terminó en 4 meses. La semilla que germinó estuvo dominada por hierbas anuales (40%) y hierbas perennes (23%), muchas de las cuales contribuyen con poco forraje útil para el ganado. Los zacates perennes (11%), excepto "Bluegrass" (Poa pratensis L.), estuvieron ausentes en el banco de semilla, mientras las leguminosas (19%) fueron más abundantes. La composición de especies del banco de semillas mostró poca similitud (44%) con la vegetación existente. Las excepciones fueron "Bluegrass", "White clover" (Trifolium repens L.) y "Common dendelion" (Taraxacum officinale Weber ex Wiggers). Estas especies abundaron tanto en el banco de semillas germinables como en la vegetación existente en el potrero. En general, nuestro estudio sugiere que los bancos de semilla en estos potreros del noreste poseen abundante semilla de "white clover" y "Bluegrass", las cuales son especies importantes para el ganado. Sin embargo, los bancos de semilla no suministran un ensamble diverso de especies forrajeras útiles. Si el manejador busca establecer un potrero con diversas especies, entonces la resiembra de potreros con mezclas de especies deseables puede ser la mejor opción.

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