Dynamic of aboveground biomass and soil moisture as affected by short-term grazing exclusion on eastern alpine meadow of Qinghai-Tibet plateau, China

Haibo Liu1, Jianping Wu2, Xinhui Tian1, and Wenhua Du1*
Short-term grazing exclusion has large impacts on grassland vegetation and nutrition. In order to study the effects of the short-term rest on aboveground biomass, forage quality, and soil moistureon alpine pasture of the Qinghai-Tibet plateau,cages were used to exclude grazing from July to October on summer pasture used by three typical farms with different stocking rates. The results showed that, within the same month during the forage growth period, the dry weights of the edible forage in the cages were significantly higher than that out of the cages (P < 0.05) under heavy grazing pressure (from 2.47 to 2.48animal unit equivalent [AUE] ha-1). Within the same soil depth, soil moisture was significantly different in, and out of, the cages (P < 0.05) and it decreased with depth. The crude protein content for forages in cages was significantly higher than that out of the cages for the farm with a heavy stocking rate and the neutral detergent fiber was significantly lower. This shows that short-term rest periods could effectively increase dry weight and crude protein content of the edible forage for farms with heavy stocking rates. This short-term rest management strategy is recommended for farms with a heavy stocking rate.
Keywords: Biomass of edible forage, cage, forage quality, ground coverage, soil moisture content.
1Gansu Agricultural University, College of Grassland Science, 730070, Lanzhou, P.R. China.
*Corresponding author (duwenhua1012@163.com).
2Gansu Agricultural University, College of Animal Science and Technology, 730070, Lanzhou, P.R. China.