• Ecosystem changes associated with grazing intensity on the Punta Ninfas rangelands of Patagonia, Argentina

      Beeskow, A. M.; Ellisalde, N. O.; Rostagno, C. M. (Society for Range Management, 1995-11-01)
      Changes in the vegetation and soil surface were assessed along a grazing intensity gradient on rangelands of the Punta Ninfas area in southern Argentina. Thirty-two transects were sampled in areas with different grazing intensity. Bray-Curtis polar ordination and simple correlation were used to display changes in community composition and measure association between different community attributes. The first axis expressed the changes in species composition along a gradient of grazing intensity. The extremes of the gradient were represented by shrub and grass steppes. Shrub steppes dominated in heavily grazed areas close to permanent water points, while grass steppes dominated in lightly grazed areas in the extremes of the paddocks. A significant negative relation (r = -0.81, P<0.05) between grass and shrub cover suggested that grasses decreased as shrub increased. Flechilla (Stipa tenuis Phil.) and fiechilla negra [Piptochaefirrm napostaense Speg.) Hackel ap Stuckert.] were the main decreaser grasses while quilembai (Chuquiruga avellanedue Cav.) was the main shrub invading the grass steppes. Uneroded soil surface conditions decreased, and the size and frequency of crusted and desert pavement areas and mounds increased with shrub cover. Three states or stages of range degradation were identified along the gradient of grazing intensity. Grass steppe represented the most desirable state in term of livestock production and soil stability, while shrub steppe represented the most degraded and least productive state.
    • Observations on spread and fragmentation of blue grama clones in disturbed rangeland

      Samuel, M. J.; Hart, R. H. (Society for Range Management, 1995-11-01)
      Establishment of blue grama (Bouteloua gracilis [H.B.K.] Lag ex. Steud.) depends on adequate precipitation at critical times and on reduced competition from associated vegetation. These conditions rarely occur on Central Plains rangelands. Therefore, rapid vegetative spread of new seedlings is desirable for colonizing disturbed rangeland. Blue grama genotypes selected for rapid spread would also be desirable for rangeland seeding. For 6 years, we followed the rate of spread of 19 blue grama clones originating from seedlings which emerged in 1980 and grew under natural competition. We observed a 4.5-fold difference in basal area and a 16.3-fold difference in above-ground biomass of these clones, perhaps because of genetic differences among clones and varying levels of competition. Clones must be tested under uniform competition with clonal replication to obtain reliable estimates of their capacity to spread.
    • Water erosion prediction project (WEPP) rangeland hydrology component evaluation on a Texas range site

      Savabi, M. R.; Rawls, W. J.; Knight, R. W. (Society for Range Management, 1995-11-01)
      The USDA-Water Erosion Prediction Project (WEPP) is a new technology based on the fundamentals of hydrology, soil physics, plant science, hydraulics, and erosion mechanics. WEPP hydrology includes simulation of excess rainfall using the Green and Ampt infiltration equation, surface runoff routing, evapotranspiration, percolation, and surface drainage. Hydrometeorological, soil, topography, and vegetation data from a range in Texas were used to test the WEPP rangeland hydrology model. Measured surface runoff and root zone soil water content from the site were compared with the simulated results of the WEPP model. The results indicate that the WEPP model (version 93.0) is capable of simulating soil water content and storm runoff. The Nash and Sutcliffe coefficient, NSR, between measured and simulated root zone soil water content and storm runoff was .88 and .84, respectively, for the bare ground plots. However, for the plots with herbaceous vegetation the discrepancy between model simulated storm runoff and soil water content was more than expected (NSR = .46 and NSR = .53, respectively).