Effects of cork oak (Quercus suber L.) canopy cover on seasonal herbage production, foliar cover, and nutritive quality in the Mamora National Forest of Morocco Public Deposited

http://ir.library.oregonstate.edu/concern/graduate_thesis_or_dissertations/4j03d1946

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  • This research was conducted in the Mamora National Forest of Morocco to: (1) Evaluate the effect of cork oak (Quercus suber L.) crown cover on seasonal herbage production, nutritive quality, and foliar cover on two distinctive sites in each of two years (1982, 1983) and to (2) assess the effects of one and two growing seasons' protection from grazing on herbage production and foliar cover. Sites differed in the dominance (81% cover) of a 1.5-3m tall legumeshrub (Genista linifolia L.) on one (G) and the near absence of this layer on the other (NG). Understory herbage yields on G were over twice as much as the NG regardless of oak cover, plant phenology or years. On the G yields were similar from 25% to full oak canopy cover and declined approximately one-third at less than 25%. Yields on the NG were essentially the same regardless of canopy cover. Yields peaked at the pre-reproductive phase and then declined by approximately one-third by maturity. Herbage under canopied stands contained more crude protein, fat and water but less crude fiber than in the open. Nutritive quality of herbage from the G site was approximately three times greater than that from the NG. Living vegetation ground cover was 70% at canopy cover of 25% or less but was 85% above 25% canopy. Annual grasses decreased in cover from 57% to 30% as crown cover decreased. Annual forbs were less under the densest canopy but were approximately 30% as canopy declined. Perennials tended to be similar (13%) under all canopy treatments. Foliar cover was higher on the G site. Vegetation and soil characteristics showed G having higher production potential. The amount of rest from grazing had pronounced effects. Average herbage yields were 30% more protected two growing seasons as compared to one. Percent cover of annual grasses, perennial grasses and oak seedlings was higher when contrasting two to one seasons' protection. Results suggest that both tree canopy cover and site characteristics such as intermediate shrub layer were major determinants in affecting herbage yields, quality, cover and composition. Rest from grazing also had important effects. Such information will be helpful in developing future Mamora management plan.
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