Resting Impact on Vegetation Cover of Fescue-Forbs Rangeland in Mongolia

Document Type: Research and Full Length Article

Authors

1 Research Institute of Animal Husbandry, High Mountain Research Station

2 Green Gold Ecosystem Management Program of Swiss Agency for Development Cooperation in Mongolia

3 High Mountain Research Station of Research Institute of Animal Husbandry, Ikhtamir Soum, Arkhangai Province, Mongolia

Abstract

The rangeland in the Khangai mountain region in Mongolia has degraded for the last decades mainly because of overgrazing and climate change. Livestock production is important part of the economy and is based on natural rangeland. In this research we seek to elucidate the influence of five years (2004-2009) of protection from grazing on vegetation cover of different degradation levels of Fescue-forbs rangelands in Khangai mountain region of Mongolia. In the beginning of the study grasses dominated within the slightly degraded site, especially Agropyron cristatum and Koeleria macrantha. Forbs dominated within the moderately degraded site, mainly Artemisia frigida and A. commutata and within the heavily degraded site sedge species dominated, mainly Carex duriuscula. The climate was fluctuated during the study period that affected the plant growth and vegetation cover. When looked at variation of total vegetation cover among years within un-grazed and grazed sites there had been fluctuation among years. The total vegetation cover was significantly different (P<0.001) among years at all degradation levels. The total vegetation cover was 18-22% higher in un-grazed site of slightly degraded site, 8-10% in un-grazed site of moderately degraded, 39-58% in un-grazed site of heavily degraded site in 2005 to 2006. The total vegetation cover was higher (P<0.05) at un-grazed sites than grazed fir many years. The vegetation cover was lower at all sites in 2007 through 2009. It was depending on drought and accumulation of litter cover. Grasses and forbs had improved in un-grazed site of slightly and heavily degraded sites.

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