Skip to main content

Response of the moss Racomitrium lanuginosum to changes in sheep grazing and snow-lie due to a snow-fence

Buy Article:

$28.00 plus tax (Refund Policy)

Abstract:

Question: What are the responses of Racomitrium lanuginosum moss to altered snow-lie and sheep use?

Location: A Carex bigelowii-Racomitrium lanuginosum heath on a Scottish montane plateau affected since 1986 by a fenced ski corridor.

Methods: Permanent quadrats were set up along transects 45 m long perpendicular to the snow-fence. Cover was assessed over a 12-year period from 1990. Pellet-group clearance counts provided data on sheep usage between 1990 and 1996. Snow-lie was mapped in the springs of 1991-1996.

Results: The snow-fence created a gradient in sheep use and altered the duration of snow-lie. At the start of monitoring Racomitrium cover was lower immediately adjacent to the fence, and after 12 years its cover was significantly reduced within 10 m of the fence. Further away from the fence Racomitrium cover was relatively stable. The loss of Racomitrium was correlated both with increased snow-lie and heavier sheep usage. Grass cover increased near the fence and was related to sheep use. Dicranum fuscescens responded differently to Racomitrium, increasing significantly near the fence.

Conclusions: We found that changes in snow-lie and grazing pressure quickly brought about vegetation change in this montane ecosystem. Racomitrium was the most sensitive species to the changes in grazing and snow-lie caused by the fence, having the biggest initial changes. Loss of Racomitrium permitted increases of species more resistant to grazing including Dicranum fuscescens and grasses.

Keywords: GRAZING; MONTANE PLATEAU; MOSS HEATH; SKI DEVELOPMENT; SNOW; VEGETATION DYNAMICS

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2007-09-01

More about this publication?
  • Access Key
  • Free content
  • Partial Free content
  • New content
  • Open access content
  • Partial Open access content
  • Subscribed content
  • Partial Subscribed content
  • Free trial content
Cookie Policy
X
Cookie Policy
Ingenta Connect website makes use of cookies so as to keep track of data that you have filled in. I am Happy with this Find out more