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The Effects of Long-Term Grazing Exclosures on Range Plants in the Central Anatolian Region of Turkey

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Abstract

Over the last fifty years, almost half of the steppe rangeland in the Central Anatolian Region of Turkey (CAR) has been converted to cropland without an equivalent reduction in grazing animals. This shift has led to heavy grazing pressure on rangeland vegetation. A study was initiated in June 2003 using 6 multiscale Modified-Whittaker plots to determine differences in plant composition between areas that have not been grazed in 27 years with neighboring grazed plant communities. A total of 113 plant species were identified in the study area with the ungrazed plots containing 32 plants more than the grazed plots. The major species were Astragalus acicularis, Bromus tomentellus, Festuca valesiaca, Genista albida, Globularia orientalis, Poa bulbosa, and Thymus spyleus ssp rosulans. Grazing impacts on forbs were more pronounced than for grasses and shrubs. Based on Jaccard’s index, there was only a 37% similarity of plant species between the two treatments. Our study led to four generalizations about the current grazing regime and long-term exclosures in the steppe rangeland around the study area: (1) exclosures will increase species richness, (2) heavy grazing may have removed some plant species, (3) complete protection from grazing for a prolonged period of time after a long history of grazing disturbance may not lead to an increase in desirable plant species with a concomitant improvement in range condition, and (4) research needs to be conducted to determine how these rangelands can be improved.

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Acknowledgments

The authors wish to thank to the administration (Dr. Hüseyin Tosun, Director, and Dr. Aydan Ottekin, Assistant Director) of the Central Research Institute for Field Crops for funding the research, to Prof. Dr. Mecit Vural for helping plant identification, Öztekin Urla and Dr. Ali Mermer for providing the aerial photo of study area, and anonymous reviewers who have provided valuable advice and comments.

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Correspondence to Hüseyin K. Fırıncıoğlu.

Appendix

Appendix

Appendix Species list, functional groups (forb, grass, shrub) and life forms (annual, biannual, perennial), and smallest plot (l-m2, 10-m2, 100-m2, 1000-m2) in which the species occurred of plants identified in the study

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Fırıncıoğlu, H.K., Seefeldt, S.S. & Şahin, B. The Effects of Long-Term Grazing Exclosures on Range Plants in the Central Anatolian Region of Turkey. Environmental Management 39, 326–337 (2007). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00267-005-0392-y

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