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


1 Institute of Forests and Rangelands

2 Tehran University


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.


Main Subjects

Akbarzadeh, M., Moghadam, M.R., Jalili, A., Jafari, M. and Arzani, H., 2007. Effect of precipitation on cover and production of rangeland plants in Polur. Jour of Natural Resources of Iran. 60(1): 307-322. (In Persian).
Ehsani, A., Arzani, H., Farahpour, M., Ahmadi, H., Jafari, M., Jalili, A., Mirdavoudi, H. R., Abasi, H. R., Azimi, M.S., 2007. The effect of climatic conditions on range forage yield in steppe rangelands, Akhtarabad of Saveh. Jour of Range and Desert Research. 14(2): 249-260. (In Persian).
Ghaemi M., 2001. Investigation the effects of drought on rangeland trend and Vegetation changes in Ghoshji of West Azerbaijan). Second conference on Range and range management of Iran. Tehran University Press. 458-453. (In Persian).
Hahn. B.D., Richardson, F.d., Hoffman, M.T., Roberts, R., Todd, S.W., Carrick, P.J. 2005. A simulation–Model of long Term climate, Livestock and vegetation interactions one communal rangelands in the semi-arid succulent karoo, Nam aqua land, south Africa. Ecological Modeling. 183: 211-230.
Hadian, F., Jafari, R., Bashari, H. and Soltani, S. 2013. Monitoring the impact of rainfall on vegetation changes using remote sensing techniques in a 12-year period. Jour. Natural Resource. 66(4): 621-632. (In Persian).
Hosseni, S.Z., Mir Haji, S. T. and Safari A., 2001. Relationship between Rainfall and Medicago sativa yield Case Study (Research Station pastures Homand, Damavand). Second Conference on Range and range management of Iran. Tehran University Press. Pp: 454-462. (In Persian).
Jagerbrand, A.K., Molau, U., Alatalo, J.M., Chrimes, D. 2009. Plant Community Responses to 5 Years of Simulated Climate Change in Meadow and Heath Ecosystems at a Subarctic-alpine Site. Jour. of Oecologia. 161: 601-610.
Khumalo, G.F. and Holechek, J. 2005. Relationship between Chihuahuan desert perennial grass yield and rainfall. Rangeland and Ecology management, 58(3): 239-246.
Laidiaw, A.S. 2005. The effect of extremes in soil moisture content on perennial ryegrass grow. In: Proceedings of 20th International Grassland Congress, Offered papers, Dublin, Ireland, (eds. F.P. O’Mara et al.) p. 551.
Lei, J. and Peters, A. J. 2003. Assessing vegetation response to drought in the northern great plains using vegetation and drought indices. Remote Sensing of Environment. 87(1): 85-98
Mirjalili, A.B. and Mousaee, M. 2008. The effect of Climate on forage yield in Yazd rangelands. The second Regional conference in natural resources and the environment. (In Persian).
Munkhtsetseg, E., R. Kimura, J. Wang, M. Shinoda, 2007. Pasture yield response to precipitation and high temperature in Mongolia. Journal of Arid environment. 70:94-110.
Persendt, F. C. 2009. Drought risk analysis using remote sensing and GIS in the Oshikoto region of Namibia. University of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa, 210p.
Smart, A., Dunn, B., Johnson, P., Xu, L. and Gates, R. 2007. Using weather data to explain herbage yield on three great plain plant communities. Rangeland Ecology & Management. 60(2): 146-153.
Walter, H., 1979. Vegetation of the earth. 2nded. Springer-Verlag, New York, 274 pp.