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Article: Positive and negative effects of livestock grazing on plant diversity of Mongolian nomadic pasturelands along a slope with soil moisture gradient[show abstract] [hide abstract]
ABSTRACT: To examine different effects of herbivorous large mammals’ grazing pressure on plant diversity along a slope in a Mongolian nomadic pasture, we compared species richness, Simpson’s index of diversity, and the total plant coverage of plants between protected pasture from livestock grazing and grazed pasture on the near ridge, upper slope, lower slope, foot slope and valley bottom. The species richness and Simpson’s index of diversity decreased and the total coverage increased downwardly with increase in pasture soil moisture along the slope. The species richness of the protected pasture decreased, changed little, and increased on the near ridge and the upper slope, the lower slope and the foot slope, and the valley bottom, respectively. Simpson’s index of diversity of the protected pasture decreased compared with the grazed pasture only on the valley bottom. The total coverage became lower in the grazed pasture. As the reason for our results, we discuss positive and negative effects of livestock grazing on the species diversity of plants. The positive effect is shown on the valley bottom, where soil moisture and plant growth becomes high with the total coverage over 100%, due to relaxing indirectly the competitive exclusion among plants due to the grazing of dominant plants. The negative effect is obtained on the near ridge and the upper slope, where the soil moisture and the plant growth are low, because of elimination of some plants from the pasture by direct grazing damage.Grassland Science 08/2009; 55(3):126 - 134.