Especies indicadoras de cambios en la fertilidad del suelo causados por la actividad del ganado en pastos de montaña

01/2010; ISBN: 978-84-9773-502-5 In book: Pastos: Fuente Natural de Energía. 4ª Reunión Ibérica de Pastos y Forrajes, 3-6 mayo, Zamora – Miranda do Douro, Publisher: Sociedad Española para el Estudio de los Pastos. Universidad de León, León, pp.57-63

ABSTRACT In this paper we explore whether indicator species could be found in the Aralar Natural Park (Gipuzkoa) mountain grasslands which could be proposed to track changes in soil fertility caused by sheep activities. We completed 270 sampling quadrats (50x50 cm, randomly thrown) in 9 sites with different sheep activities: extensive (no specific) use, sheep cabin, and sheep resting zones. A total of 50 plant species were reported; in terms of presence, frequency of occurrence and mean cover, Festuca rubra, Agrostis capillaris and Trifolium repens were the most important ones. In addition, according to results obtained by indicator value analyses (INDVAL), 35 species exhibited bioindication potential (P < 0.05). Agrostis capillaris and T. repens (INDVAL ~ 55) indicated more fertile soils, rich in both phosphorus and potassium (as those found around the sheep cabin zones), whereas Potentilla montana (INDVAL ~ 60) and Thymus praecox (INDVAL ~ 50) were good indicators of soils with high pH, Ca, Mg and low Al (as those found in the sheep resting zones). It is concluded that the use of indicator species, like the ones proposed in this paper, can help to improve our knowledge on the effects of sheep activities on mountain grasslands.

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