Jones, W. Marc , Fraser, Lauchlan H. , Curtis, P. Jeff .
Plant functional group response to livestock grazing in depressional wetlands.
We used plant functional groups to evaluate the effects of livestock grazing on wetland vegetation communities in the southern interior of British Columbia. Thirty-five depressional wetlands were sampled that ranged along a grazing intensity gradient from heavily grazed to ungrazed. We used the amount of bare ground and soil bulk density as surrogate measures for livestock use intensity and evaluated the response of six functional groups (annual, perennial rhizomatous, perennial non-rhizomatous graminoids and forbs) and two groups of conservation interest (exotic and tall emergent species) in two wetland zones (marsh and wet meadow). The richness and probability of occurrence of most functional and conservation groups were strongly associated with grazing intensity and wetland zone. In general, annual graminoids and forbs, perennial non-rhizomatous graminoids, and exotic species increased with livestock grazing intensity while perennial rhizomatous graminoids and forbs, perennial non-rhizomatous forbs and tall emergent species decreased, although many groups exhibited a unimodal response to livestock use with higher richness and probability of occurrence at intermediate grazing intensities. Grazing-related changes in vegetation between lightly and heavily grazed wetlands were substantial and have conservation implications for these wetlands and their associated wildlife.
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1 - University of British Columbia, Okanagan, Earth and Environmental Sciences, 3333 University Way, Kelowna, BC, V1V 1V7, Canada
2 - Thompson Rivers University, Biological Sciences, 900 McGill Road, Kamloops, BC, V2C 5N3, Canada
plant functional groups
Presentation Type: Oral Paper:Papers for Sections
Date: Tuesday, July 29th, 2008
Time: 10:00 AM