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Durham e-Theses
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A comparative study of the productivity, mineral regime and floristic composition of the management units found on a Teesdale hill farm

M.Nye, Sandra (1971) A comparative study of the productivity, mineral regime and floristic composition of the management units found on a Teesdale hill farm. Masters thesis, Durham University.



Teesdale, situated in the eastern Pennines, is subject to rather severe climatic conditions which only allow a short growing season. Nevertheless a rich unique flora is found here and hill farming is practised. The hill farms consist of lush hay meadows on the alluvial soil of the valley bottoms, and of rough grazing on the Pell slopes. The meadows are fertilized , mown and grazed, and some fertilizers have also been applied to the lower Pell slopes. Originally the Dale was forested and some relic species, e.g. Anemone nemorosa are still found. To-day's vegetation is a mixture, the more "managed" grassland showing affinities to the order ARRHENATHERETALIA Pawloski 1928, and the remainder to the order MOLINIETALIA W. Koch 1926. "Management" seems to aid species of the former order in replacing species of the latter. The hay meadows are the most productive, the most important contributors being the grasses, especially Holcus lanatus, Alopecurus pratensis, and Festuca rubra. The most productive group of plants higher on the Fell slope were the bryophytes. Calculation of the productivity of each species enables the best "niche" for each species to be determined. "Management", by increasing productivity and thus organic and inorganic nutrient turn-over, must have affected the natural cycling and retention of nutrients. The more productive communities are less " efficient" in their utilization of potassium. Analysis of the component species could identify the plants between which maximum competition occurs, and which minerals are limiting growth. A study of this type, including total mineral "budget" of the environment, extending over a sufficient number of years and using a statistically sound number of samples, could lead to the production of seed mixtures which may improve the hay crop and grazing swards. Improvements in "managements especially fertilization, could also be suggested, since increased production depends on increased mineral supply.

Item Type:Thesis (Masters)
Award:Master of Science
Thesis Date:1971
Copyright:Copyright of this thesis is held by the author
Deposited On:14 Mar 2014 17:03

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