Nonequilibrium dynamics of sedge meadows grazed by cattle in southern Wisconsin

  • Published source details Middleton B. (2002) Nonequilibrium dynamics of sedge meadows grazed by cattle in southern Wisconsin. Plant Ecology (formerly Vegetatio 1948-1996), 161, 89-110.


This study is summarised as evidence for the following.

Action Category

Exclude or remove livestock from degraded peatlands

Action Link
Peatland Conservation
  1. Exclude or remove livestock from degraded peatlands

    A site comparison study in 1977–1997 in three historically grazed sedge meadows in Wisconsin, USA (Middleton 2002) reported that after cattle grazing was stopped, vegetation structure and species richness became more like a meadow that had never been grazed, but shrub cover less so. Most of these results were not tested for statistical significance. Between four and twenty years after grazing was stopped, average vegetation cover and height increased (data reported as graphical analyses) whilst the number of plant species decreased (from 43 to 34). For these measures, the previously grazed meadow became more like a never-grazed meadow and less like a heavily grazed meadow. In contrast, cover of red twig dogwood Cornus sericea increased significantly in the previously grazed meadow (from 0 to 9%) but not in the never-grazed meadow (from 0 to 2%). Total sedge Carex spp. cover did not change significantly over time in any site. In 1977 and 1997, three sedge meadows were studied: one previously grazed (heavily grazed until 1973, when grazing stopped), one that remained heavily grazed, and one effectively never grazed (lightly grazed until the 1960s). Sedge meadows are sedge-dominated peatlands, fed by ground water. Cover and height of every plant species were recorded in 20–28 quadrats (0.2 m2) per meadow.

    (Summarised by: Nigel Taylor)

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