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Short-term impact of grazing by sheep on vegetation dynamics in a newly created salt-marsh site
Milotic, T.; Erfanzadeh, R.; Petillon, J.; Maelfait, J.-P.; Hoffmann, M. (2010). Short-term impact of grazing by sheep on vegetation dynamics in a newly created salt-marsh site. Grass For. Sci. 65(1): 121-132. hdl.handle.net/10.1111/j.1365-2494.2009.00725.x
In: Grass and Forage Science. Blackwell: Oxford. ISSN 0142-5242, more
Peer reviewed article  

Available in  Authors 
    VLIZ: Open Repository 257874 [ OMA ]

Keywords
    Grazing; Vegetation; Elymus athericus (Link) Kerguélen [WoRMS]
Author keywords
    vegetation development; grazing management; intertidal habitats; forage quality; Elymus athericus

Authors  Top 
  • Maelfait, J.-P., more
  • Hoffmann, M., more

Abstract
    The effects of grazing by sheep at a stocking density of c. 1 sheep ha-1 from August to April on total vegetation cover, diversity of plant species, above-ground plant biomass and concentration of crude protein, neutral-detergent fibre and acid-detergent fibre of salt-marsh vegetation was assessed over a 2-year period on a newly created salt-marsh area on the Belgian coast. Assessments were made in both grazed and ungrazed areas in four elevation zones: low, intermediate, high and floodmark zone. The cover of dominant salt-marsh species (Salicornia europaea, Limonium vulgare and Elymus athericus), plant diversity, plant biomass and chemical composition of herbage were compared between grazed and ungrazed plots, and between 2005 (initial state) and 2007 (after a 2-year grazing period) using paired t-tests. Grazing by sheep maintained plant diversity in the high zone, whereas diversity decreased in the ungrazed plots. Grazing had no apparent effect on total vegetation cover and composition of the vegetation. Concentration of crude protein in herbage increased and that of neutral-detergent fibre decreased in the high and intermediate zones. Expansion of the dominant species of the high zone, E. athericus, was not affected by the stocking density used in the study.

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