Effects of grassland management on plant communities

Gytautas Ignatavičius, Stanislovas Sinkevičius, Aurelija Ložytė

Abstract


Grassland is an important component of agrarian landscape, providing a wide range of ecological, economic and social goods and services necessary to support life. They provide habitat for numerous plants and animals, filter sediment and pollutants before they reach our freshwater sources, increase water infiltration, prevent soil erosion, remove and store greenhouse gases, etc. Plant communities are the main elements of grassland ecosystems. The conditions of plant communities and species composition reflect the ecological conditions of the habitat and are an important bioindicator. Grassland plants have the amount requirements for ecological factors which are most suitable to them and optimal to the growth and development, however, economic activity carried out in grasslands may negatively affect the relation of ecological conditions and plants. Long-term changes of the conditions of a habitat, which are determined by various ecological factors, make an impact on the condition of plants and their competitiveness; thus species composition of communities also changes. Especially marked influence on the formation of grassland communities is made by anthropogenic factors, i.e. human economic activities (fire, drainage, fertilization, creation of sown grasslands, haymaking, grazing, or, contrariwise, abandonment). A review on the impact of anthropogenic activities on grassland plant communities is presented.

Keywords


grassland value; plant communities; species diversity; grassland management; human activity

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.6001/ekologija.v59i2.2713

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ISSN 0235-7224 (Print)
ISSN 2029-0586 (Online)