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Species Composition and Biomass Production in Two Communal Coastal Rangelands of the Eastern Cape Province, South Africa

Matshawule, S.

Department of Rural Development & Agrarian Reform, Chris Hani district, P.O. Box 112, Queenstown, 5320, Eastern Cape, Republic of South Africa.

*Corresponding author: Matshawule, S.

Published: April 14,2020


This study investigated species composition and biomass production of herbaceous plants in two communal rangelands surrounding homesteads areas. In each study area, the rangelands were divided based on the distance from homesteads into near (up to 1 km), middle (> 1–2 km) and far (> 2–3 km) sites. On each site a HVU of 50 m x 20 m was used and six 0.25 m2 quadrants were laid randomly on each HVU. Herbaceous species found within a quadrant were identified, counted and their height and tuft were measured. Herbaceous species were also harvested, bulked and placed into well labelled brown paper bags and oven-dried for 48 hours at 60 oC to determine biomass production. Herbaceous species were also classified according to their palatability ecological status and life form. Data were collected for two seasons over 2014/15 (winter and summer). A total of 20 herbaceous species were identified in the study areas. Of these 17 were grass species. The most common or dominant grass species were T. triandra, C. dactylon, E. capensis, E. plana and S. africanus. At Dyamdyam T. triandra showed the greatest frequency of occurrence at far site than middle and near homesteads sites. The frequency occurrence of S. africanus at Machibi was relatively similar in all the study sites. Density of herbaceous species was significantly lowest on near and bottom sites at Dyamdyam and Machibi, respectively. In both winter and summer, grazing site far and top from homestead had greatest (P <0.05) biomass production at Dyamdyam and Machibi respectively. The biomass production was significantly highest in the summer than the winter across the study sites in both study areas. It can be concluded that composition of herbaceous species and biomass production are significantly dependent on distance and topography from homesteads and seasons. Therefore, any rangeland management practices in communal grazing lands should consider these factors in to consideration during the planning of development progress.


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How to cite this paper

Species Composition and Biomass Production in Two Communal Coastal Rangelands of the Eastern Cape Province, South Africa

How to cite this paper: Matshawule, S. (2020) Species Composition and Biomass Production in Two Communal Coastal Rangelands of the Eastern Cape Province, South Africa. Advance in Biological Research1(1), 1-10.