Submitted to: US-International Association for Landscape Ecology
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: December 30, 2005
Publication Date: March 28, 2006
Citation: Goslee, S.C., Gonet, J.M., Sanderson, M.A. 2006. Landscape context of grazing lands in the northeastern united states [abstract]. US-International Association for Landscape Ecology. p. 68. Interpretive Summary: An interpretive summary is not required.
Technical Abstract: Grazing lands increase landscape diversity in the northeastern United States by providing open grassland areas in a matrix of row crops, forests and development. We sampled pastures on five farms - two each in New York and Pennsylvania, and one in Maryland - in the spring, summer and autumn of 2004 and 2005. We used the multiscale modified Whittaker plot to characterize the plant communities of 5-7 pastures on each farm. Based on the USGS 1992 National Land Cover Dataset, the land use within a 1000m radius circle surrounding these farms varies from 18-88% agricultural (primarily pasture). Little of the area directly surrounding these farms has been developed, although this is rapidly changing; most of the nonagricultural area is forest. Pasture was the only major source of open grassland in these areas. Open areas are important for conservation as well as for agriculture. Although several common forage species were found on all five farms, the overall plant species diversity decreased with increasing agricultural land use in the surrounding area, particularly with increasing proportion of row crops. A wider range of propagules may be available in fields surrounded by land uses other than row crops, since one of the goals of intensive agriculture is to maintain a monoculture. Producers may need to take surrounding land use, not just land use within a farm, into account when developing management schemes.