Cite as:
Adams, J.; Samimi, C.; Mitterer, C.; Bendix, J. &amp; Beck, E. (2022): <b>Comparison of pasture types in the tropical Andes: Species composition, distribution, nutritive value and responses to environmental change</b>. <i>Basic and Applied Ecology</i> <b>59</b>, 139-150.

Resource Description

Title: Comparison of pasture types in the tropical Andes: Species composition, distribution, nutritive value and responses to environmental change
FOR816dw ID: 473
Publication Date: 2022-02-06
License and Usage Rights:
Resource Owner(s):
Individual: Julia Adams
Individual: Cyrus Samimi
Individual: Christina Mitterer
Individual: Joerg Bendix
Individual: Erwin Beck
Pastoralism is the main land use in the humid tropical Andes of South America. Wide areas of mountain rainforest have been cleared for gaining pastureland. Due to the lack of indigenous useful grasses in the pristine forests, mainly exotic grass species have been used for establishing the pastures. In the Ecuadorian Andes, Axonopus compressus, Melinis minutiflora, Pennisetum clandestinum and Holcus lanatus are common pasture grass species. Their preference for certain microsites resulted in a mosaic of different pasture types, which reflect the differing ecological conditions on the undulating terrain of the mountain slopes. During the last decades, however, another exotic grass species, Setaria sphacelata has widely been introduced which, because of its fast growth on some of the sites could successfully suppress the formerly dominant plant species. With respect to the changing microclimate and cattle stocking rates the present study explored, whether planting Setaria is the best option for the common low-input type of pasture farming in these tropical mountains. In a study over twenty years, the development of four main pasture types, dominated by the above-mentioned grass species was investigated in areas with and without Setaria, and their topographical occurrence on the sloping terrain was analyzed. On forty-eight plots a pairwise (with or without Setaria) comparison of species composition and diversity, biomass production, forage quality and soil properties was performed. Although Setaria grows faster than the other grass species, its productivity was only higher on flat terrain. The nutritive value of the Setaria plots was at best equivalent to that of the former pastures, while species richness was consistently lower. Our results suggest the maintenance of a terrain-adapted diversification of the pastures and in particular the use of Setaria only on flat terrain.
| South Ecuador | Southern Bracken | Pasture types |
Literature type specific fields:
Journal: Basic and Applied Ecology
Volume: 59
Page Range: 139-150
Publisher: Elsevier
Metadata Provider:
Individual: Jörg Bendix
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