Mountains in the Chaning World, Mountains in the Chaning World

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Impacts of Grazing on Forest Ecosystems of Central Terai, Nepal
Sarita Ghale

Last modified: 2017-08-27




The impacts of grazing were assessed in three community forests of Central Terai region.  Based on the changes in vegetation attributes and soil parameters, the impacts of grazing were quantified. The attributes of vegetation and soil physicochemical parameters were assessed and compared between ungrazed and grazed plots in all forests. Simple random sampling was applied for sampling of both vegetation and soil. Four plots of size 50*50 m2 were laid in each forest, from which 25 quadrats per plots were taken for sampling of vegetation. The quadrat size of 1*1 m2 was used for sampling seedlings (dbh<1.5 cm) and 2*2 m2 was used for sampling saplings (dbh= 1.5-10 cm). Soil samples were collected diagonally along 50*50 m2 from the depth of 0-15 cm. The associations between vegetation and soil were analyzed by using Redundancy Discriminant Analysis. In total, 59 species were observed in all three forests. The density, abundance and coverage of seedlings had declined in grazed plots of JCF. However, species number, Shannon diversity index and Pielou’s evenness index of seedlings had increased in response to grazing. While in case of saplings, all vegetation attributes showed positive response to grazing. In MCF, all vegetation attributes of seedlings and saplings showed negative response to grazing except density, coverage and evenness of seedlings. The seedlings and saplings showed contrasting response in case of RCF. The attributes of seedlings showed positive and saplings showed negative to grazing. The soil parameters had showed varying response to grazing in the studied forests. Despite of all these inconsistency in responses, grazing was found to have positive impacts in JCF with grazing intensity 1.2 CU/ha and negative in MCF and RCF with grazing intensity of 2.5 CU/ha and 1.8 CU/ha respectively. Therefore, we concluded that low intensity of grazing had supported high diversity of forests while high intensity of grazing had detrimental effects on diversity of forest ecosystem. The forest with high intensity of grazing must adopt best management strategy to ensure balanced consumption of forest with sound functioning of ecosystem.

Keywords: Community forests, grazing, species number, diversity, soil parameter

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