, Volume 30, Issue 2, pp 252–262 | Cite as

Does Long-term Grazing by Pack Stock in Subalpine Wet Meadows Result in Lasting Effects on Arthropod Assemblages?

  • Jeffrey G. Holmquist
  • Jutta Schmidt-Gengenbach
  • Sylvia A. Haultain
Original Paper


Pack stock are often used in mountain environments and are grazed in uplands and wetlands, particularly subalpine wet meadows. Effects of pack stock on wetland invertebrates are unknown. Sequoia National Park, (Sierra Nevada, USA), was an ideal location for the study of lasting stock impacts on fauna, because a) there was an 18-year database of stock usage, b) there were meadows with little grazing that could be contrasted with grazed meadows, c) there is a long winter with no stock use, and d) the start of grazing for each meadow is controlled, so we could sample after greenup but just before stock arrived. We could thus address persistent conditions produced by many years of stock use in isolation from any potential short term impacts. We sampled terrestrial arthropods in paired “grazed” and “ungrazed” meadows across the Park and collected associated vegetation data. We found some negative effects of grazing on vegetation structure, but few lasting negative or positive effects of long-term stock grazing on arthropods in these wetlands. Although it appears that pack stock do not cause lasting damage to this arthropod assemblage, the extent of impact at the height of the grazing season remains unknown.


Araneae Baiting Disturbance Insecta Sierra Nevada (USA) Sweep netting 



We thank Lyra Pierotti, Chelsea Clifford, Jean Dillingham, Derham Giuliani, and Peter Norquist for cheerfully sorting samples and Eric Frenzel for helping compile historical stock use data. Philip Ward kindly confirmed ant species identifications. We benefited from discussion with Harold Werner, Leigh Ann Starcevich, Liz Ballenger, Peggy Moore, David Graber, Jennifer Jones, David Cooper, Eric Berlow, and Linda Mutch, and from the support of WMRS faculty and staff, especially Vikki DeVries, Barbara Fager, Frank Powell, Daniel Pritchett, Elizabeth Sally, John Smiley, and Denise Waterbury. The paper was improved by comments from Darold Batzer, Scott Martens, Peggy Moore, Steve Ostoja, John Smiley, and anonymous reviewers. This work was funded by the National Park Service (J8R07080005 and J8R07070006). Much of the groundwork for this project was supported by the National Park Service (H8R07010001) and National Science Foundation (0139633 and 0139633-Supplement). All Park Service support was funded through the Great Basin Cooperative Ecosystems Studies Unit, and Angie Evenden expertly assisted with this process.


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Copyright information

© Society of Wetland Scientists 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jeffrey G. Holmquist
    • 1
  • Jutta Schmidt-Gengenbach
    • 1
  • Sylvia A. Haultain
    • 2
  1. 1.University of California White Mountain Research StationBishopUSA
  2. 2.Sequoia and Kings Canyon National ParksThree RiversUSA

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