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Interaction of livestock grazing and rainfall manipulation enhances herbaceous species diversity and aboveground biomass in a humid savanna

Title data

Okach, Daniel Osieko ; Ondier, Joseph O. ; Rambold, Gerhard ; Tenhunen, John ; Huwe, Bernd ; Jung, Eun- Young ; Otieno, Dennis Ochuodho:
Interaction of livestock grazing and rainfall manipulation enhances herbaceous species diversity and aboveground biomass in a humid savanna.
In: Journal of Plant Research. Vol. 132 (2019) Issue 3 . - pp. 345-358.
ISSN 1618-0860
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s10265-019-01105-x

Abstract in another language

Understanding of the interaction of livestock grazing and rainfall variability may aid in predicting the patterns of herbaceous species diversity and biomass production. We manipulated the amount of ambient rainfall received in grazed and ungrazed savanna in Lambwe Valley-Kenya. The combined influence of livestock grazing and rainfall on soil moisture, herbaceous species diversity, and aboveground biomass patterns was assessed. We used the number of species (S), Margalef’s richness index (Dmg), Shannon index of diversity (H), and Pileou’s index of evenness (J) to analyze the herbaceous community structure. S, Dmg, H and J were higher under grazing whereas volumetric soil water contents (VWC) and aboveground biomass (AGB) decreased with grazing. Decreasing (50%) or increasing (150%) the ambient rainfall by 50% lowered species richness and diversity. Seasonality in rainfall influenced the variation in VWC, S, Dmg, H, and AGB but not J (p = 0.43). Overall, Dmg declined with increasing VWC. However, the AGB and Dmg mediated the response of H and J to the changes in VWC. The highest H occurred at AGB range of 400–800 g m−2. We attribute the lower diversity in the ungrazed plots to the dominance (relative abundance > 70%) of Hyparrhenia fillipendulla (Hochst) Stapf. and Brachiaria decumbens Stapf. Grazing exclusion, which controls AGB, hindered the coexistence among species due to the competitive advantage in resource utilization by the more dominant species. Our findings highlight the implication of livestock grazing and rainfall variability in maintaining higher diversity and aboveground biomass production in the herbaceous layer community for sustainable ecosystem management.

Further data

Item Type: Article in a journal
Refereed: Yes
Additional notes: BAYCEER150913
BAYCEER151516
Keywords: Herbaceous layer community; Plant biomass; Rainfall variability; Savanna ecosystem; Species evenness
Institutions of the University: Faculties > Faculty of Biology, Chemistry and Earth Sciences > Department of Biology > Former Professors
Faculties > Faculty of Biology, Chemistry and Earth Sciences > Department of Biology > Former Professors > Chair Plant Ecology - Univ.-Prof. John D. Tenhunen, Ph.D.
Faculties > Faculty of Biology, Chemistry and Earth Sciences > Department of Biology > Professor Mycology
Faculties > Faculty of Biology, Chemistry and Earth Sciences > Department of Biology > Professor Mycology > Professor Mycology - Univ.-Prof. Dr. Gerhard Rambold
Faculties > Faculty of Biology, Chemistry and Earth Sciences > Department of Earth Sciences
Faculties > Faculty of Biology, Chemistry and Earth Sciences > Department of Earth Sciences > Former Professors
Faculties > Faculty of Biology, Chemistry and Earth Sciences > Department of Earth Sciences > Former Professors > Professor Soil Physics - Univ.-Prof. Dr. Bernd Huwe
Research Institutions
Research Institutions > Research Centres
Research Institutions > Research Centres > Bayreuth Center of Ecology and Environmental Research- BayCEER
Faculties
Faculties > Faculty of Biology, Chemistry and Earth Sciences
Faculties > Faculty of Biology, Chemistry and Earth Sciences > Department of Biology
Result of work at the UBT: Yes
DDC Subjects: 500 Science
500 Science > 550 Earth sciences, geology
500 Science > 570 Life sciences, biology
Date Deposited: 28 Jan 2020 07:29
Last Modified: 30 Jan 2020 08:24
URI: https://eref.uni-bayreuth.de/id/eprint/53875