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Ren, HY; Han, GD; Lan, ZC; Wan, HW; Schonbach, P; Gierus, M; Taube, F.
(2016): Grazing effects on herbage nutritive values depend on precipitation and growing season in Inner Mongolian grassland
J PLANT ECOL. 2016; 9(6): 712-723. FullText FullText_BOKU

Aims Grasslands are widely used for production of livestock, which depend on the nutritive value of herbage species. However, there are still large uncertainties as to how grazing, precipitation and growing season interactively affect herbage nutritive value. Methods Here, based on a grazing experiment with seven grazing intensities in an Inner Mongolian grassland since the year 2005, we analysed nutritive value of four dominant grass species from June to September in both a relatively wetter year (2008) and a drier year (2010). Herbage with high nutritive value is characterized by high concentration of crude protein, high concentration of cellulase digestible organic matter and low concentration of neutral detergent fibre. Important Findings We found that (i) grazing significantly increased the nutritive value of Leymus chinensis, Agropyron michnoi and Cleistogenes squarrosa but had minor effects on the nutritive value of Stipa grandis. (ii) For all species, nutritive values were greater in the wetter year than in the drier year and were greatest in the early growing season (June) and lowest at the end of the growing season (September). Inter-annual and inter-seasonal variations in nutritive value were much greater for L. chinensis and A. michnoi than for C. squarrosa and S. grandis, suggesting higher water use efficiency for the latter two species. (iii) Grazing significantly decreased the drought resistance of three species, but not of S. grandis. (iv) Grazing significantly increased inter-month variation in nutritive value for L. chinensis and A. michnoi but had relatively minor or no effects on that of C. squarrosa and S. grandis. Therefore, grazing effects on species nutritive values showed strong inter-annual and seasonal patterns, and species-specific responses might be related to species traits (i.e. water use efficiency, digestibility). Our results have important implications for ecosystem management of arid and semi-arid grasslands under intense grazing and global climatic change.
Authors BOKU Wien:
Gierus Martin

Find related publications in this database (Keywords)
grazing avoidance strategy
drought resistance
water limitation

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