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image of Israel Journal of Plant Sciences

Flowering intensities of species in grazed and non-grazed plots were compared during a three-year period of fencing (1993–1995). The plots were located in a south-facing limestone phrygana (180 m a.s.l.) in SW Crete, Greece. Non-grazing had relatively little effect on species density and composition but some of the fluctuation in flowering intensity of annuals was related to the treatment. Flowering intensity of medium-sized and tall grasses and legumes increased subsequent to fencing, while some low-canopy annuals decreased. Few individuals of taxa of cliff habitats sensitive to browsing invaded the exclosure in the third year, but there was no evidence so far of succession towards maquis or woodland. Several annual species in the non-grazed plots flowered earlier than in the grazed plots. This phenological shift suggests advanced soil desiccation caused by the increase of water required by non-grazed herbs. Late-spring rain supported reflowering of annuals.

Affiliations: 1: Institute for Biology II (Geobotany)


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