Effect of summer livestock grazing on plant species richness and composition in the Himalayan rangelands

Aryal, Suman and Cockfield, Geoff and Maraseni, Tek (2015) Effect of summer livestock grazing on plant species richness and composition in the Himalayan rangelands. The Rangeland Journal, 37 (3). pp. 309-321. ISSN 1036-9872

Abstract

Grazing systems in the high Himalayas are changing in response to socioeconomic factors and policy decisions. As well as effects on livelihood of herders, such changes may have significant impacts on plant species richness
and composition. The objectives of this study were to explore how plant species richness and composition respond to livestock grazing in the high Himalayan rangelands. The study was conducted in three mountainous Protected Areas of Nepal viz. Sagarmatha (Mt Everest) National Park, Gaurishankar Conservation Area and Khaptad National Park. Species and environmental data were collected along perpendicular transects outwards from goths (semi-permanent stopping and camping points). It was found that the distance from goths generally represents a grazing disturbance gradient. The core
areas near goths had low species richness per plot (a-diversity) where nitrophilous and grazing-tolerant species were commonly found. However, the highest species richness, total numbers of species and occurrences of rare species at mid and farther distances from goths within 800m suggest that negative effects of summer livestock grazing were small and confined to limited areas near goths. Altitude, soil moisture content, percentage shrub cover and distance from goths were
the variables significantly correlated with species composition, although the relative importance of these factors varied across study sites. This research can be used to inform decision-making about seasonal livestock grazing in the Himalayan rangelands, which should incorporate both ecological as well as socioeconomic considerations.


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Item Type: Article (Commonwealth Reporting Category C)
Refereed: Yes
Item Status: Live Archive
Additional Information: Permanent restricted access to Published version in accordance with the copyright policy of the publisher.
Faculty / Department / School: Current - Faculty of Business, Education, Law and Arts - School of Commerce
Date Deposited: 02 Jun 2015 01:38
Last Modified: 24 Jan 2018 00:50
Uncontrolled Keywords: grazing gradient, Nepal, species composition, species richness, summer grazing
Fields of Research : 05 Environmental Sciences > 0599 Other Environmental Sciences > 059999 Environmental Sciences not elsewhere classified
07 Agricultural and Veterinary Sciences > 0702 Animal Production > 070203 Animal Management
06 Biological Sciences > 0602 Ecology > 060299 Ecology not elsewhere classified
07 Agricultural and Veterinary Sciences > 0703 Crop and Pasture Production > 070399 Crop and Pasture Production not elsewhere classified
05 Environmental Sciences > 0502 Environmental Science and Management > 050202 Conservation and Biodiversity
07 Agricultural and Veterinary Sciences > 0701 Agriculture, Land and Farm Management > 070101 Agricultural Land Management
Identification Number or DOI: 10.1071/RJ14088
URI: http://eprints.usq.edu.au/id/eprint/27351

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