Effects of pasture improvement and management practices on vegetation: a sample of Aslançayırı village pasture in Samsun, Turkey.
This study was conducted in the pasture of Aslançayırı village (41°00'52" N, 35°38'59" E, 800 m altitude), Havza district of Samsun province, located in the Central Black Sea Region of Turkey, to determine the changes in pasture vegetation caused by improvement and management applications. The rangeland has been divided into two different sections depending on the destruction level caused by its use, and a holistic program has been implemented for improvement. Fertilization, cleaning clipping, and alternating grazing system were applied throughout the pasture and in addition, seeding was applied to the 1st section (Destroyed by plowing pasture), and mechanical aeration was applied to the 2nd section (Base pasture). The alterations in the pasture were determined by the modified wheeled loop method before and after the improvement applications. The improvement applications have increased the ratio of legumes and grasses, decreased the ratio of other families in the pasture, and contribute to the formation of balanced vegetation. Before the improvement, the rates of annual, invasive, and decreasing species were found 29.25%, 70.33%, and 18.68%, respectively. Following the improvement, annual and invasive species have exhibited a decrease while decreasing species have proven an increase by giving the rates of 15.46%, 45.02%, 46.54% respectively. In the pre-improvement period, while Lotus corniculatus, Hordeum murinum, Taraxacum officinale, Bellis perennis, Carex acuta, Cyndon dactylon and Scariola viminea species were dominant in the pasture, it was observed that decreasing species such as Trifolium repens, Poa pratensis, Lolium perenne became dominant after the improvement. The improvement and management applications increased the plant-covered area throughout the pasture from 91.0% to 98.4% and grazing capacity from 10.17 AU (Animal Unit) to 18.01 AU and enhanced the pasture condition and health category from medium-healthy to good-healthy. It has been concluded that the prevention of excessive and untimely grazing is the most decisive factor in ensuring the progress achieved, and it is recommended to continue the grazing plan implemented in terms of sustainability.