New Zealand Journal of Ecology (1990) 13: 43- 49

The Maintenance of Poa cita Grassland by Grazing

Research Article
Janice M. Lord  
  1. Department of Plant and Microbial Sciences, University of Canterbury, Private Bag, Christchurch, New Zealand

The effect of protection from sheep grazing on indigenous plant species in relatively mesic, strongly modified Poa cita grassland, was examined using paired grazed and ungrazed sites. Ungrazed sites, fenced at times ranging from four to more than 24 years ago, had fewer species, lower indigenous cover and lower tussock density than adjacent grazed sites. The dominance of adventive species, particularly cocksfoot (Dactylis glomerata), in ungrazed sites appeared to be important to these differences. Grazing would appear to be necessary for the maintenance of indigenous species in this strongly modified short tussock grassland.