Soil Seed Bank and Aboveground Vegetation in Grazing Lands of Southern Marmara, Turkey
AbstractThe composition and conservation of plant communities is greatly influenced by the soil seed bank. Information on the soil seed banks and the remaining vegetation in these ecosystems is crucial for guiding the restoration efforts. This study examines the size, species richness, diversity, uniformity, and similarity of soil seed banks and aboveground vegetation in 6 different grazing lands including coastal pasture, reseeded pasture, artificial pasture, lowland shrubland, ungrazed pasture, and hillside shrubland. Forty-eight soil samples were taken by cores with a diameter and depth of 10 cm from each of grazing lands in August of 2007. A vegetation survey was conducted using a 0.5 x 0.5-m quadrant in both the spring and fall. Eighty species were observed in soil seed banks and aboveground vegetation. The largest seed bank was observed in reseeded pasture (7,715 seed/m2), while the smallest seed bank was found in coastal pasture (2,755 seed/m2). Coastal pasture also possessed the least amount of aboveground vegetation (131 plants/m2). The most aboveground vegetation was found in ungrazed pasture (155 plants/m2). The most common species in seed banks were annual and perennial grasses in reseeded pasture, annual forbs in artificial pasture and hillside shrubland, and perennial forbs in low shrubland and ungrazed pasture. Species richness, diversity, and uniformity in seed banks were highest in lowland shrubland and lowest in artificial pasture. The seed bank and aboveground vegetation were similar in ungrazed pasture, coastal pasture, reseeded pasture, low shrubland, hillside shrubland and artificial pasture. Shrublands play an important role in species richness and the number of germinated seeds from seed banks of grazing lands in southern Marmara. The results showed that reseeding or a decrease in grazing pressure may improve the condition of grazing lands.
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