Submitted to: Ecological Society of America Abstracts
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: November 21, 1999
Publication Date: November 26, 1999
Citation: Tracy, B.F., Sanderson, M.A. 1999. Patterns of plant species diversity in grazinglands of the Northeastern U.S.[abstract]. Ecological Society of America Abstracts. p. 201. Technical Abstract: Little information exists about biodiversity of grazinglands in the northeast. In the summer of 1998, we measured plant diversity patterns on 37 pastures across the northeast. Our objective was to learn how species diversity of northeastern pastures compared with other U.S. grazinglands. We used a modified Whitaker plot method to determine plant diversity at 1, 10, 100, and 1000 m2 scales. Species richness ranged from 16 to 49 (average 32). Perennial forbs, perennial grasses, annual forbs, and legumes averaged 12, 7, 6, and 4 species per pasture, respectively. Bluegrass, white clover, dandelion, and broadleaf plantain accounted for most of the canopy cover. Diversity patterns were not well explained by either soils data or land management. Overall, plant diversity of northeast pastures was comparable to short grass steppe (avg 34 species), but lower than tall and mixed grass prairies (avg of 43 and 46 species). Seedling recruitment from existing seed banks and local seed rain appear t be the most important factors influencing plant diversity in northeastern pastures.