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Paper Information

Journal:   IRANIAN JOURNAL OF RANGE AND DESERT RESEARCH   2016 , Volume 23 , Number 3 ; Page(s) 442 To 453.

Effects of fire and grazing on density, diversity and richness of soil seed bank in semisteppe rangelands of Central Zagros region, Iran

* Department of Natural Resources, Isfahan University of Technology, Isfahan, Iran
The structure and composition of plant communities are mainly affected by fire and grazing, especially in arid and semiarid rangelands. This study aimed to investigate the role of fire and grazing on soil seed bank characteristics (density, diversity and species richness) in semi-steppe rangelands of Central Zagros. A stratified random sampling was used to collect the data from 12 sites with one and five years after the last fire, and with long term light and heavy grazing history. Soil samples were collected in the autumn by auger from 0-5 and 5-10 cm from the soil surface, and the samples were cultivated in the greenhouse. All the germinated seeds were identified and counted for a 6-month period. The results showed that the one year after fire treatment under both light and heavy grazing resulted to a significant decrease in density, richness, and diversity of the soil seed bank. The richness and diversity of soil seed bank in the fiveyear after fire treatment and under light grazing pressure increased significantly compared to its control site. According to the results, the soil seed bank in 5 to 10 cm from the soil surface did not vary statistically under fire and grazing pressure, indicating the role of soil depth in reducing the impact of fire and grazing. Overall, it can be concluded that the grazing management after a fire event has a key role in vegetation restoration through its effects on the soil seed bank.
Keyword(s): Diversity,fire,grazing,soil seed bank,vegetation
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