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Effect of cattle grazing on soil salinity and vegetation composition along an elevation gradient in a temperate coastal salt marsh of Samborombón Bay [Argentina]

Por: Di Bella, C. E.
Colaborador(es): Jacobo, E. J | Golluscio, R. A | Rodríguez, A. M.
ISSN: 0923-4861.Tipo de material: Artículos y capítulos. Recurso electrónico.Tema(s): AGRICULTURE | ARGENTINA | BIOMASS | BOS | BUENOS AIRES [ARGENTINA] | CATTLE | CATTLE PRODUCTION | CONSERVATION | ELEVATION | FLOODING | FORAGE | FORAGE QUALITY | GRASS | GRAZING | LIVESTOCK | LIVESTOCK FARMING | NATIONAL PARK | SALINITY | SALTMARSH | SAMBOROMBON BAY | SOIL | SPARTINA DENSIFLORA | SPECIES DIVERSITY | VEGETATION STRUCTURE | Recursos en línea: Haga clic para acceso en línea | LINK AL EDITOR. En: Wetlands Ecology and Management Vol. 22, no. 1 (2014) 1-13Resumen: Salt marshes of Samborombón Bay [Argentina] have been grazed sporadically at very low stocking rates, but in the last decade, grazing intensity increased due to agriculture expansion. We investigated the effect of cattle grazing on vegetation and soil salinity on the most extended Spartina densiflora community. This community develops along an elevation gradient where the frequency and duration of tidal flooding and soil salinity increased as elevation decreased. Vegetation and soil data were collected from a national park excluded to cattle grazing for 30 years and from an adjacent commercial livestock farm continuously grazed by cattle. As elevation level decreased, plant cover, richness and diversity of functional groups and species decreased. As we expected, grazing altered soil salinity and vegetation composition in different extent along the elevation gradient. Grazing changed vegetation structure more intensively in the high elevation level because it reduced the competitive exclusion exerted by S. densiflora, allowing the increase in floristic richness. Grazing increased soil salinity and the contribution of salt-tolerant species only in the medium but not in the low elevation level probably because the higher frequency and duration of tidal flooding counterbalanced the increase in evaporation promoted by biomass removal in the low respect to the medium elevation level. While grazing may cause positive impacts for plant conservation in the high elevation level, it may cause negative consequence for livestock production because of the reduction in forage quality along the entire elevation gradient.
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Salt marshes of Samborombón Bay [Argentina] have been grazed sporadically at very low stocking rates, but in the last decade, grazing intensity increased due to agriculture expansion. We investigated the effect of cattle grazing on vegetation and soil salinity on the most extended Spartina densiflora community. This community develops along an elevation gradient where the frequency and duration of tidal flooding and soil salinity increased as elevation decreased. Vegetation and soil data were collected from a national park excluded to cattle grazing for 30 years and from an adjacent commercial livestock farm continuously grazed by cattle. As elevation level decreased, plant cover, richness and diversity of functional groups and species decreased. As we expected, grazing altered soil salinity and vegetation composition in different extent along the elevation gradient. Grazing changed vegetation structure more intensively in the high elevation level because it reduced the competitive exclusion exerted by S. densiflora, allowing the increase in floristic richness. Grazing increased soil salinity and the contribution of salt-tolerant species only in the medium but not in the low elevation level probably because the higher frequency and duration of tidal flooding counterbalanced the increase in evaporation promoted by biomass removal in the low respect to the medium elevation level. While grazing may cause positive impacts for plant conservation in the high elevation level, it may cause negative consequence for livestock production because of the reduction in forage quality along the entire elevation gradient.

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