Study

Effects of grazing intensity in grasslands of the Espinal of central Chile

  • Published source details del Pozo A., Ovalle C., Casado M.A., Acosta B. & de Miguel J.M. (2006) Effects of grazing intensity in grasslands of the Espinal of central Chile. Journal of Vegetation Science, 17, 791-798.

Actions

This study is summarised as evidence for the following.

Action Category

Soil: Use fewer grazers

Action Link
Mediterranean Farmland

Other biodiversity: Use fewer grazers

Action Link
Mediterranean Farmland
  1. Soil: Use fewer grazers

    A controlled study in 1976–1983 in wood pasture (Espinal) in central Chile found more nitrogen and phosphorus in paddocks that were grazed by sheep at lower stocking rates. Nutrients: More nitrogen and phosphorus were found at lower stocking rates (e.g., with 1 vs 3.5 sheep/ha: 0.3% vs 0.1% N, 6.0 vs 1.5 mg P2O5/kg soil). Methods: The study area (32 ha) was grazed with 1 sheep/ha for at least 20 years before the study began. In 1976, seven paddocks were established with fences (2.5–10 ha/paddock, 10 sheep/paddock), each with a different stocking rate (1, 1.5, 2, 2.5, 3, 3.5, or 4 sheep/ha). In paddocks with 1–3.5 sheep/ha, soil samples were collected in 1983 (0–20 cm depth).

     

  2. Other biodiversity: Use fewer grazers

    A controlled study in 1976–1983 in wood pasture (Espinal) in central Chile found fewer species of native plants, more species of non-native plants, more grasses, fewer composites, and more plant biomass in paddocks with lower stocking rates of sheep. Plants had different traits with different stocking rates. Plants: Fewer native species were found in paddocks with lower stocking rates, in three of four years (e.g., with 1 vs 3.5 sheep/ha, in the 8th year: 2.5 vs 8 native species), and more non-native species were found in one of four years (e.g., with 1 vs 3.5 sheep/ha, in the 6th year: 9.5 vs 7.5 non-native species). In two of four years, the highest numbers of non-native species were found with intermediate stocking rates (e.g., in the 3rd year, with 1 vs 2.5 sheep/ha: 11 vs 7.5 non-native species). Overall, fewer plant species (native and non-native) were found in paddocks with lower stocking rates (e.g., with 1 vs 3.5 sheep/ha, in the 8th year: 12 vs 15 species). More grasses, and fewer plants in the daisy family (composites), were found in paddocks with lower stocking rates (e.g., with 1 vs 3.5 sheep/ha, in the 8th year: 75% vs 25% relative frequency, for grasses; 10% vs 65% for composites), but similar numbers of legumes were found at different stocking rates (1–3%). More plant biomass was found in paddocks with lower stocking rates (e.g., with 1 vs 3.5 sheep/ha, in the third season: 850 vs 150 kg dry biomass/ha). Lower stocking rates were associated with taller, more palatable plants with fibrous roots and animal-dispersed seeds, whereas high stocking rates were associated with shorter plants that grow in rosettes and produce fewer wind-dispersed seeds (data reported as locations of morpho-functional traits in ordination space). Methods: The study area (32 ha) was grazed with 1 sheep/ha for at least 20 years before the study began. In 1976, seven paddocks were established with fences (2.5–10 ha/paddock, 10 sheep/paddock), each with a different stocking rate (1, 1.5, 2, 2.5, 3, 3.5, or 4 sheep/ha). In paddocks with 1–3.5 sheep/ha, plants were sampled in spring (October–November, five 4 m transects/plot), and plant biomass was measured in exclusion cages at the end of the growing season (one 1 m2 cage/paddock from May to December), in 1978, 1979, 1981, and 1983.

     

Output references
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