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Abstract


Effects of Long-Term Free Grazing on Natural Rangelands
This study was conducted to determine some vegetation characters of 24 natural rangelands in Sinop province in 2014. In the study, modified wheel point method with loop was used. Totally 134 plant species were determined in studied rangelands. This plant species were also divided into 3 different successional groups: i) 19 species were decreases, ii) 17 species were increasers, and iii) 98 species were invaders. Major decreaser, increaser and invader species in the rangelands were Onobrychis sativa, Chrysopogon gryllus and Lotus corniculatus; Cynodon dactylon, Festuca ovina and Brachypodium sylvaticum; Thymbra spicata, Medicago lupulina and Crepis armena, respectively. In the experiment field, plant coverage rate was 88.2%. It was determined that the amount of precipitation impacted plant cover more than livestock grazing level. There were significant correlations between the altitude and decreaser+increaser plant ratio (r=0.408*); between the altitude and grazing intensity (r=-0.452**). The results from the present study indicated that 3 rangelands are “Good”, 20 rangelands are “Fair” and 1 rangeland is “Poor” quality. On the other hand, 4 rangelands were “Unhealthy” and 20 rangelands were “Risky” in rangeland health categories. According to these results, the majority of the studied rangelands are in good condition. Only a rangeland urgently needs improvement.

Keywords
Rangeland condition, Rangeland health, Plant cover, Decreasers, Increasers


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