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Vegetation Interactions for the Better Understanding of a Mongolian Ecosystem Network

Part of the Ecological Research Monographs book series (ECOLOGICAL)

Abstract

We examined vegetation interactions throughout the Mongolian ecosystem network to understand its present status. The existing forest mosaic in the forest-steppe zone is the result of the combined effects of climate, slope direction, livestock grazing and browsing, and human activities. Pasture production was positively correlated with precipitation, and at least 10 mm over a period of 15 days is required for good pasture plant production. Mixing with grazing-tolerant plants is not a disadvantage for edible plants in terms of production in the drier habitat. Coverage of grazing-tolerant plants increased with soil alkalization caused by pasture degradation. The recovery of edible pasture plant species diversity after removing disturbances, such as overgrazing and farming, depends on the degree of soil alkalization. In dry regions, shrubs contribute more to livestock nutrition than do herbs because of their production is higher and more consistent. Soil texture, whether sand or silt, affects shrub distribution. The taproot depth of Caragana species was especially deep compared with other shrubs. Human activities contribute to shrub disappearance in pastureland. Moreover, shrub patch degradation accelerates wind erosion in pastures. In the Caragana site, goats preferred Caragana leaves but sheep chose herbs, especially Stipa. Both goats and sheep grazed Caragana leaves completely and even ate the underground parts of herbs under strong hunger.

Keywords

  • Forest and steppe distribution
  • Grazing tolerance
  • Precipitation and pasture production
  • Shrub and herb production
  • Soil alkalization

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Acknowledgments

This work was supported financially in part by the RIHN research project “Collapse and Restoration of Ecosystem Networks with Human Activities.” We are grateful to Professor N. Yamamura and Dr. E. Kusano for their helpful suggestions on the draft of this manuscript.

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Correspondence to Noboru Fujita .

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Fujita, N., Amartuvshin, N., Ariunbold, E. (2013). Vegetation Interactions for the Better Understanding of a Mongolian Ecosystem Network. In: Yamamura, N., Fujita, N., Maekawa, A. (eds) The Mongolian Ecosystem Network. Ecological Research Monographs. Springer, Tokyo. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-4-431-54052-6_13

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