Rangeland Ecology & Management

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Growth responses of arctic graminoids following grazing by captive lesser snow geese
Zellmer, I. D., M. J. Clauss, D. S. Hik, R. L. Jefferies
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In 1987 and 1988, exclosures in arctic grasslands (dominated by Puccinellia phryganodes and Carex subspathacea, with sub-dominants of Calamagrostis deschampsioides and Festuca rubra under Salix spp.) were grazed by captive goose goslings (Anser caerulescens caerulescens), in 30 minute increments from 0 to 180 minutes. Biomass production was measured, before and after the grazing, at various intervals up to 65 days afterwards; nitrogen contents were also measured. Puccinellia and Carex increased net above ground primary production (NAPP), due to the increase in nitrogen from goose feces, after defoliation. Calamagrostis and Festuca NAPP declined with longer grazing periods and also had lower nitrogen content, even though the amount of feces was the same as other areas. As the goose populations increase, their grazing areas are expanding from Puccinellia and Carex communities to lower quality forages, such as Calamagrostis and Festuca. The lowered rapid growth response of the Calamagrostis and Festuca spp. are leading to a decline in the quantity and quality of the grazing area.

arctic coastal graminoids
growth of forage species
lesser snow geese
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