The Effects of Climatic Parameters on Vegetation Cover and Forage Production of Four Grass Species in Semi-steppe Rangelands in Mazandaran Province, Iran

Document Type: Research and Full Length Article

Authors

1 Institute of Forests and Rangelands

2 Tehran University

Abstract

The vegetation cover and rangeland production are the most important factors to determine the proper planning system for effective utilization and management of rangelands. In this research, the effect of climatic factors (temperature and rainfall) were studied on vegetation cover and forage production of four species (Festuca ovina, Bromus tomentellus, Dactylis glomerata and Agropyron trichophorum) during 2002-2006 and in 2013 in a semi-steppe area in Polur rangeland, Mazandaran Province, Iran. The climatic factors were annual rainfall, growing season rainfall, growing season plus previous year rainfall, growing season rainfall of March, annual mean temperature and growing season temperature. For this purpose, some plots with a systematic distribution were selected. The vegetation cover and forage production were measured. The relationships between vegetation indices and climatic factors were assessed for each species using stepwise regression. The results demonstrated that the plant species had responded to rainfall and temperature fluctuations. However, the responses were different in various species. Among the important climatic factors, the growing season rainfall of March was the most effective index for B. tomentellus and A. trichophorum vegetation cover and forage production as well as on D. glomerata vegetation cover. The forage production of F ovina was influenced by the growing season plus the previous year rainfall. According to the results, the forage production and vegetation cover of these grass species could be estimated based on rainfall data. Therefore, with the knowledge of the effects of rainfall year fluctuations on vegetation indices over a long period, it is possible to make the necessary predictions for optimizing the management of rangelands.

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