Staff Publications

Staff Publications

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    'Staff publications' is the digital repository of Wageningen University & Research

    'Staff publications' contains references to publications authored by Wageningen University staff from 1976 onward.

    Publications authored by the staff of the Research Institutes are available from 1995 onwards.

    Full text documents are added when available. The database is updated daily and currently holds about 240,000 items, of which 72,000 in open access.

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Record number 507051
Title Trees improve forage quality and abundance in South American subtropical grasslands
Author(s) Bernardi de Leon, Rafael; Jonge, Inger K. de; Holmgren, Milena
Source Agriculture, Ecosystems and Environment 232 (2016). - ISSN 0167-8809 - p. 227 - 231.
Department(s) Aquatic Ecology and Water Quality Management
Resource Ecology
Publication type Refereed Article in a scientific journal
Publication year 2016
Keyword(s) Facilitation - Grassy biomes - Livestock - Savannas - Uruguay - Woody plant encroachment

Woody plant expansion into rangelands has raised widespread concerns about the potential impacts on livestock production. However, the way in which trees influence the structure, composition and dynamics of herbaceous communities may vary widely depending on local conditions. We studied the effects of trees on the sub-humid grasslands of Uruguay, in southeastern South America, comparing the abundance, diversity and nutrient composition of the herbaceous plants growing under the canopy of isolated trees with those growing at adjacent open places. We analyzed the vegetation patterns at increasing distances from the edge of riparian forests, where tree cover is highest, into the open grasslands. We did not find significant differences between the total biomass of the herbaceous layer growing under and outside tree canopies, but the relative abundance of C3 grasses doubled under trees. Nitrogen content of grasses growing under tree canopies was significantly higher than in adjacent open grasslands, whereas no significant differences were found in P or fiber content. Our results suggest that scattered trees in subtropical grasslands can increase the abundance of high quality forage and contribute to improve the provisioning services of these rangelands.

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