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Research Article
Impacts of Overgrazing in a Long Term Traditional Grazing Ecosystem on Vegetation Around Watering Points in a Semi-Arid Rangeland of North-Eastern Iran

N. Hassani, H.R Asghari, A.S. Frid and M. Nurberdief

Pakistan Journal of Biological Sciences, 2008, 11(13), 1733-1737.

Abstract

In this study, the effects of livestock overgrazing on vegetation of the critical area around livestock watering points in a traditional grazing ecosystem was investigated on a semi-arid rangeland in North-East of Iran. Transects were placed in 8 geographical directions around watering points and samples were taken systematically. In each experimental plot, 4 m2, percentage of canopy cover, abundance, density and species richness of vegetation were calculated. The results of this study showed that the percentage of canopy cover, density and species richness were changed with distance from watering points. Critical area immediately adjacent to watering points was dominated by unpalatable Peganum harmala and contained of ruderal species such as Sophora sp. Adjacent to this was a zone dominated by species of low palatability such as Acantholimon sp. and Hulthemia persica. In areas most distant from watering points relative importance of moderately palatable species such as Artemisia herba-alba increased. These results show the negative impacts of overgrazing on vegetation and palatability in a traditional grazing ecosystem, which may indicate the necessity of a monitoring programme, to manage livestock grazing and watering points in North-East of Iran.

ASCI-ID: 1-4342

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