Comparing the effects of continuous grazing and long term exclosure on floristic composition and plant diversity in rangeland ecosystems of Saral, Iran

  • P. KaramiEmail author
  • I. Bandak
  • M. Gorgin Karaji
Original Paper


Continuous grazing as the most common land us in Kurdistan rangeland is practiced wildly. Along with continuous grazing, long term exclosure has been implemented in research site in Saral. The main objective of this study was to investigate the changes in plant diversity, floristic composition and plant groups of the major life forms in response to 40 years of continuous grazing and long terrm exclosure in Saral rangelands, Iran. This research was conducted in cold semi-arid rangeland of Baharestan located in Saral’s agricultural and natural resources station (including grazed and excluded sites). In total, six transects were sampled in both grazed and excluded sites and ten plots were randomly placed per transect to measure vegetation and plant characteristics. Sampling was carried out in late May to early June (peak biomass) in 2017. T test was used to compare the means of total plant material, and Shannon’s diversity index was used based on the total cover percentage in both grazed and exclosure sites. Our results indicated that long-term grazing exclosure significantly increased canopy covers and species richness of annuals, perennial grasses, perennial forbs and shrubs. Conversely, continuous grazing caused some species to disappear namely Ferula haussknechtii and Prangos ferulacea. There was statistically a significant difference between litter and total plant material in experimental sites (p < 0.001). Apart from palatability, exclosure increased floristic diversity by 17.8%. Our findings elucidated that exclosure in degraded vegetation is an effective strategy and management policy to recover and restore missing vegetation cover.


Continuous grazing Exclosure Floristic composition Litter Canopy cover 



We thank Dr. Khaled Ausati for ideas and improvements to the manuscript.


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Copyright information

© Islamic Azad University (IAU) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Range and Watershed Management, Faculty of Natural ResourcesUniversity of KurdistanSanandajIran
  2. 2.Natural Resources OfficeDehgolanIran
  3. 3.Faculty of Natural ResourcesUniversity of KurdistanSanandajIran

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