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Providing evidence to improve practice

Individual study: Grazing effects on plant functional group diversity in Mediterranean shrublands

Published source details

Papanikolaou A.D., Fyllas N.M., Mazaris A.D., Dimitrakopoulos P.D., Kallimanis A.S. & Pantis J.D. (2011) Grazing effects on plant functional group diversity in Mediterranean shrublands. Biodiversity and Conservation, 20


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Increase number of livestock Shrubland and Heathland Conservation

A replicated site comparison in Greece in 66 shrubland sites (Papanikolaou et al. 2011) found that grazed sites had higher total plant species richness, as well as higher species richness of annual and perennial forbs, annual grasses, but lower species richness of tall shrubs; species richness of perennial grasses and small shrubs was not affected by grazing. Total plant species richness was higher in grazed than ungrazed plots (grazed: 32-38 species/plot, ungrazed: 22 species/plot). The same trend was true for annual forbs (grazed: 9-12 species/plot, ungrazed: 4 species/plot), perennial forbs (grazed: 6-7 species/plot, ungrazed: 6 species/plot), and annual grasses (grazed: 3-4 species/plot, ungrazed: 1 species/plot). However, in one of three cases species richness of tall shrubs was lower in grazed than ungrazed plots (grazed: 2 species/plot, ungrazed 1 species/plot). Species richness of perennial grasses (grazed: 2 species/plot, ungrazed: 2 species/plot) and small shrubs (grazed: 6 species/plot, ungrazed 6 species/plot) did not differ significantly between grazed and ungrazed plots. In each site 100 m2 plots were used and vegetation cover and species richness estimated. Grazing intensity at each site was assessed by expert opinion.

(Summarised by Phil Martin)