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Ecological Research

, Volume 33, Issue 1, pp 213–223 | Cite as

Riverine wood-pasture responds to grazing decline

  • Dušanka Krašić
  • Elli Groner
  • Minucsér Mészáros
  • Tijana Nikolić
  • Dimitrije Radišić
  • Stanko Milić
  • Marko Kebert
  • Dubravka Milić
  • Ante Vujić
  • Zoran Galić
Original Article

Abstract

There is insufficient available information on structural changes within wood-pastures including their relationship to abiotic influences such as livestock grazing, flooding and available soil nutrients. In this paper, we address the links between important environmental variables and different stages of the wood-pasture cycle, with the aim of understanding fluctuations in this relationship and processes that follow changes in wood-pasture condition. We used satellite and aerial image interpretation to identify structural vegetation shifts over 44 years under significantly declining livestock numbers. We used ground truthing of 24 plots to assess the current field scenario and employed canonical correspondence analysis (CCA) to evaluate the relationship between plant communities and environmental influences. Three dominant structural vegetation types grassland, transitional vegetation with thorny shrubs and woody encroachment were surveyed and the following set of variables was chosen: grazing intensity, inundation frequency, elevation, soil total nitrogen, soil available phosphorus, soil potassium, soil magnesium, soil calcium, soil pH and soil carbon to nitrogen ratio. Interpretation of satellite images revealed dominance of wood-pasture in the past, which alternated structurally between more open and more closed physiognomies. CCA with ground truthing data and forward selection revealed grazing intensity as the predominant ecological driver modifying vegetation structure, as well as transitioning vegetation patterns between open herbaceous and closed woody cover. Each structural vegetation type demonstrated a collective distribution pattern and a close relationship to certain abiotic drivers, indicating strong interactions between soil parameters, grazing pressure and vegetation composition.

Keywords

Wood-pasture Cannonical correspondence analysis Satellite images Vegetation composition Soil properties 

Notes

Acknowledgements

This study was funded by the Ministry of Education, Science and Technological Development of the Republic of Serbia within the research project 43002: Biosensing Technologies and Global System for Long-Term Research and Integrated Management of Ecosystems and the project “Geotransformation of Vojvodina in the function of regional development (project number 114-451-2080/2016) of the Provincial Secretariat for Higher Education and Scientific Research, Vojvodina Autonomous Province.

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Copyright information

© The Ecological Society of Japan 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Dušanka Krašić
    • 1
  • Elli Groner
    • 2
  • Minucsér Mészáros
    • 3
  • Tijana Nikolić
    • 1
  • Dimitrije Radišić
    • 4
  • Stanko Milić
    • 5
  • Marko Kebert
    • 6
  • Dubravka Milić
    • 4
  • Ante Vujić
    • 4
  • Zoran Galić
    • 6
  1. 1.BioSense Institute, University of Novi SadNovi SadSerbia
  2. 2.Dead Sea and Arava Science CenterJerusalemIsrael
  3. 3.Department of Geography Tourism and Hotel Management, Faculty of SciencesUniversity of Novi SadNovi SadSerbia
  4. 4.Department of Biology and Ecology, Faculty of SciencesUniversity of Novi SadNovi SadSerbia
  5. 5.Laboratory for Soil and AgroecologyInstitute of Field and Vegetable CropsNovi SadSerbia
  6. 6.Institute of Lowland Forestry and EnvironmentNovi SadSerbia

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