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The Effects of Grazing Systems on Plant Communities in Steppe Lands—A Case Study from Mongolia’s Pastoralists and Inner Mongolian Settlement Areas

1
Graduate School of Dairy Sciences, Rakuno Gakuen University, Ebetsu, Hokkaido 069-8501, Japan
2
Resources and Environment Economy College, Inner Mongolia University of Finance and Economics, 185, North Two Ring Road, Hohhot 010070, Inner Mongolia, China
3
College of Geographical Sciences, Inner Mongolia Normal University, No. 81, Zhao Wuda Road, Hohhot 010022, Inner Mongolia, China
4
Graduate School of Global Environmental Studies, Kyoto University, Kyoto 606-8501, Japan
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 6 November 2017 / Revised: 26 December 2017 / Accepted: 17 January 2018 / Published: 18 January 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Arid Land Systems: Sciences and Societies)
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Abstract

This study examines the effects of different grazing systems in two neighboring regions with similar biotic and abiotic factors, Nalan Soum in Mongolia and Naren Soum in Inner Mongolia, China. We employed the quadrat sampling method and remote sensing to set three perpendicular lines that dissect the boundary between the two countries, and seven lines parallel to the boundary to form a rectangular shape as a means to compare plant community response to different grazing systems under natural conditions. NDVI data is included in discussing the causes of Mongolian grassland degradation. The results of quadrat sampling and NDVI analysis show that rotational grazing has greater values for the quadrat’s average height, total coverage, total individual density, and total aboveground biomass (p < 0.05), but has lower species richness than continuous grazing (p > 0.05). The NVDI values of rotational grazing in 1989, 2005, 2011, and 2016 were higher those of continuous grazing, and significant difference was shown in 2011 and 2016; the NDVI value of continuous grazing in 1993 was higher than that of rotational grazing, but did not show a significant difference. This indicates that different grazing approaches affect steppe ecological systems in different ways, despite their similar biotic and abiotic factors, as well as grazing intensity. Nonetheless, we find rotational grazing to be better for ecosystem vitality than continuous grazing, to some degree. View Full-Text
Keywords: rotational grazing; continuous grazing; grassland degradation; case study of nomadic and settlement grazing system; remote sensing; Mongolian grassland rotational grazing; continuous grazing; grassland degradation; case study of nomadic and settlement grazing system; remote sensing; Mongolian grassland
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).
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Na, Y.; Bao, S.; Hashimoto, K.; McCarthy, C.; Hoshino, B. The Effects of Grazing Systems on Plant Communities in Steppe Lands—A Case Study from Mongolia’s Pastoralists and Inner Mongolian Settlement Areas. Land 2018, 7, 10.

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