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Long Term Effect of Major Disturbances on the Northern Mixed Grassland Ecosystem—A Review

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DOI: 10.4236/oje.2014.44021    4,444 Downloads   6,165 Views   Citations
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ABSTRACT

Grassland ecosystems in North America have been significantly altered through various disturbances from past to present. This paper has identified and examined major disturbances in the grassland ecosystems, which include grazing, fire and drought. A brief history of each disturbance is reviewed and its impact on the grassland ecosystem is discussed, by synthesizing previous research efforts available in the current literature. The paper intends to understand the grassland ecosystem from a comprehensive perspective and particularly tries to articulate the compound effect of the major disturbances in the same context instead of viewing them in isolations. It is concluded that a holistic understanding of the interaction between disturbances and plant communities is essential for sustainable grassland management, which demands comprehensive research effort in this area. The paper also points out the challenges we are facing in the current researches and suggests potential future improvement.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.

Cite this paper

Li, M. and Guo, X. (2014) Long Term Effect of Major Disturbances on the Northern Mixed Grassland Ecosystem—A Review. Open Journal of Ecology, 4, 214-233. doi: 10.4236/oje.2014.44021.

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