Die Bodenkultur - Journal for Land Management, Food and Environment


Montane and subalpine mat-grass pastures of the Schattberg region (Province of Salzburg): Species composition and phytomass


In 1991 and 1992, a multidisciplinary study was carried out in montane and subalpine plant communities of the Löhnersbach valley near Saalbach. In the course of this project, also plant sociological releves as weIl as phytomass har-vests were undertaken in eleven pastures dominated by mat-grass (Nardus stricta). The releves show that species composition depends on the elevation of the study sites (1290 to 1950 m a. s. 1.). In most of the cases, above ground phytomass of high elevation sites was small and below ground phytomass high, respectively. Beside elevation, also soil factors and grazing intensity as well as historical forms of utilization seem to play an important role for both phytomass and species composition. By means of stratified harvest we could reveal that up to three quarters of the entire above ground biomass (i. e. living plant parts) are concentrated in the layer of 0 to 5 cm above ground level. Thus, especially in high elevation pasture communities, a considerable part of forage for cattle remains unused. Compared with montane mat-grass pastures in the German regions of Bayerischer and Thüringer Wald, however, some of these pastures have higher nitrogen values and a better forage quality. Key-words: pasture farming, mat-grass, phytomass, species composition, structure of the vegetation layer.