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On changes in the indicator role of Festuca sulcata in the steppe zone of the Armenian SSR.


The environment-forming significance of F. sulcata [F. rupicola] and its resistance to overgrazing in the Armenian steppe belt were studied. Heavy grazing of grasslands dominated by F. sulcata on sloping sites markedly reduced its soil conservation role, led to the destruction of plant cover and increased water erosion of soil. Marked deterioration in soil fertility on slopes where F. sulcata disappeared under pressure of heavy grazing was indicated by the development of drought-resistant annual weeds such as Queria ispanica, Alyssum desertorum, Filago arvensis, Ziziphora tenuior, Zerna [Bromus] tectorum and Hordeum crinitum. These species provided no soil conservation. It is suggested that normal stocking rates with light to moderate grazing and rest periods without grazing, and application of nutrients deficient in the soil could promote normal development and longevity of F. sulcata on sloping sites.