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Paper Information

Journal:   IRANIAN JOURNAL OF RANGE AND DESERT RESEARCH   FALL 2018 , Volume 25 , Number 3 (72) ; Page(s) 547 To 561.

Effects of different grazing management on plant functional traits in a semi-stepp rangeland, Karsanak, Chaharmahal-Va-Bakhtiari Province

* Department of Natural Resources and Geology, University of Shahrekord, Iran
Livestock grazing is one of the most important factors influencing on the structure and dynamics of the rangeland vegetation. The aim of this study was to identify the plant functional traits as the indicators for the effects of grazing management on Karsanak semi-steppe rangelands of Chahar Mahal Va Bakhtiari province. A randomized-systematic sampling method was used to survey vegetation in seven grazed and enclosure sites by estimating plant cover in five plots of 4 m2 along a 100-m transect in each site. Then, the plant traits were measured and compared among grazed and enclosure sites. The results showed that there were significant differences between grazed and enclosure sites in several functional groups including plant height, leaf area, total plant weight, palatability class I and II, annuals and perennials, therophytes, and geophytes (P<0. 05). The results also showed that the mean value of leaf length, the plant cover of species with palatability class II, forbs, and therophytes were significantly increased in non-grazed area compared to grazing area. The results of PCA showed that the most affecting factors responsible for overall changes in vegetation were plant weight, perennial and annual plant species, shrub growth form, chaemophytes, phanerophytes and phanerophytes forms, leaf length, leaf width, leaf area, and palatability class II and class III, justifying 60% of total variation in plant community composition. Combining the results of t-test and PCA, the results indicate that plant traits including total plant weight, leaf length and width, leaf area, palatability class, and life form are among the most important indicators to evaluate the effect of grazing managements on the structure and dynamics of vegetation in semi-steppe rangelands.
Keyword(s): Grazing gradient,Karsanak,non-grazed,plant functional traits
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