Can Shallow Plowing and Harrowing Facilitate Restoration of Leymus chinensis Grassland? Results From a 24-Year Monitoring Program
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CitationBaoyin, T., & Li, F. Y. (2009). Can Shallow Plowing and Harrowing Facilitate Restoration of Leymus chinensis Grassland? Results From a 24-Year Monitoring Program. Rangeland Ecology & Management, 62(4), 314-320.
PublisherSociety for Range Management
JournalRangeland Ecology & Management
AbstractLong-term effects of two mechanical interventions, shallow plowing and harrowing, on degraded Leymus chinensis (Trin.) Tzvel. grassland were studied. Species composition and standing biomass of the grassland were monitored at peak biomass each year for 24 yr after application of these two measures, together with grassland in natural recovery and that under public grazing. Results showed a high resilience of degraded grassland, which recovered naturally after excluding grazing animals to a structure similar to the intact L. chinensis community. In comparison with natural recovery, harrowing facilitated restoration of L. chinensis population and community structure and improved grassland production. Shallow plowing accelerated recovery of L. chinensis population to a larger extent than harrowing and led to a flourish of annual species and improvement of herbage production in the years following its application. But the production improvement was unsustainable and was associated with a decrease in grassland species richness and community complexity. We conclude that the best measure for restoring degraded grassland depends on the restoration objectives and severity of grassland degradation. Harrowing is a feasible technique to assist restoration of the degraded grassland. In contrast, shallow plowing is not appropriate for ecological restoration, but may be applied for quick restoration of herbage production.