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Acta Prataculturae Sinica ›› 2009, Vol. 18 ›› Issue (5): 256-261.

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Effect of grazing intensity on characteristics of alpine meadow communities in the eastern Qinghai-Tibetan Plateau

REN Qing-ji1, WU Gao-lin2,3, REN Gou-hua3   

  1. 1.Grassland Work Station of the Gannan Tibetan Autonomous State of Gansu Province, Hezuo 747000,
    2.Northwest Sci-Tech University of Agriculture and Forestry State Key Laboratory of
    Soil Erosion and Dryland Farming on the Loess Plateau, Institute of Soil and Water
    Conservation, Chinese Academy of Sciences and Ministry of Water Resource,
    Yangling 712100, China;
    3.Key Laboratory of Arid and Grassland Ecology
    of Ministry of Education of Lanzhou University, Lanzhou 730000, China
  • Received:2009-02-17 Online:2009-10-20 Published:2009-10-20

Abstract: A comparative study on community characteristics with different grazing intensitie was conducted in alpine meadows of the eastern Qinghai-Tibetan Plateau (Maqu county, Gansu province). With increased grazing intensity, vegetation height, total cover and above-ground biomass all showed a significant decrease. The importance of species of Cyperaceae and Gramineae families fell and their dominances were replaced by some forbs species (Ligularia virgaurea and Leontopodium leontopodioides). For plant functional groups, the biomass proportions of the germinal species group and the sedge species group were significantly reduced by increased grazing intensity, but the biomass proportions of leguminous species group, forbs species group and noxious species group were significantly increased. Richness index (R), Shannon-Wiener diversity index (H) and Evenness index (E) of alpine meadow communities reached a maximum under the middle grazing intensity in the moderately-grazed plot>heavily-grazed plot>non-grazed plot. Results suggest that with increased grazing, alpine meadow communities will undergo a succession from “dominated by tall germinal and sedge species” to “dominated by tall germinal and sedge species+middle forbs species”, then to “dominated by middle and lower forbs species”.

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