Disturbance intensity and above- and belowground herbivory effects on long-term (14 y) recovery of a semiarid grassland

TitleDisturbance intensity and above- and belowground herbivory effects on long-term (14 y) recovery of a semiarid grassland
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication1998
AuthorsCoffin D.P., Laycock W.A., Lauenroth W.K.
JournalPlant Ecology
Volume139
Pagination221-233
Date PublishedDecember 1, 1998
ARIS Log Number091700
KeywordsBouteloua gracilis, cattle grazing, june beetle larvae, root feeders, shortgrass steppe, succession
Abstract

The importance of disturbance intensity and herbivory by cattle and white grubs, or the larvae of June beetles (including Phyllophaga fimbripes), to recovery of shortgrass steppe ecosystems in Colorado, U.S.A. were evaluated over a fourteen year time period. Disturbance intensity was defined by survival of the dominant grass species (Bouteloua gracilis) after an outbreak of root feeding activity by white grubs. Sixteen patches of vegetation consisting of four pairs of adjacent ungrazed-grazed by cattle locations with two replicates that were recently affected by white grubs were selected in 1977. Disturbance intensity was determined in 1977 by the area in each patch that contained live tillers of B. gracilis. Permanent plots were located both within and outside of each patch. Plant basal cover and density by species were estimated at time of peak aboveground biomass in six different years on each plot.

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DOI10.1023/A:1009789017151