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Studies on the ground vegetation at slopeland farms
The ground cover is necessary for soil conservation at slopeland farms. From July 1998 to December 1999, the ground vegetation composition of cultivated slopeland was investigated at low to medium elevation in Taiwan. In 198 research sites, totally 446 species (taxa), belonging to the 86 families, were recorded. The ground floras at low elevations in central, eastern and southern Taiwan are similar. The ground covers at medium elevations in central and southern Taiwan are distinct from that in other low elevation sites. There are more naturalized plants in medium elevation of central Taiwan. Heavy herbicide application and frequent soil disturbance would be the reason that the ground cover in vegetable fields is different from that under the other crops. Most of the dominant ground vegetation at betel nut plantations and orange orchards are more shade tolerant. From February 1999 to May 2000, the phenology of 259 species ground cover at cultivated slopelands in central Taiwan was recorded. The major anthesis stage was from June to September;the major seed firm stage was from August to December;and the major blight stage was from December to next February. Based on the monitoring of vegetational changes in Ruiyan, Bidens pilosa, Siegesbeckia orientalis and Ageratum conyzoides, etc., have short life cycle, high germinability and persistent soil seed bank, and the other competitive perennials were also killed by herbicides. On the slopeland near Sun Moon Lake, Imperata cylindrica and Panicum repens blighted in the winter,but recovered by sprouting from the rhizomes in next spring. Seedlings of Mallotus japonicus and Melastoma candidium have invaded, and may dominate gradually. In orchards of Lishan, the tendency of ground cover change was from Vernonia persica to Bromus catharticus, Lolium multiflorum, and then to Rumex obtusifolius, Trifolium repens and trailing plants. Based on the survey of population dynamics of the naturalized plants in Wushe and Lishan, Bromus catharticus and Lolium multiflorum germinated from September to October, sprouted from November to next March;Rumex obtusifolius and Digitalis purpurea mostly germinated from September to November, blighted in the winter, and recovered by sprouting from the rhizomes in next February;Hypochoeris radicata mostly germinated from November to next February, sprouted from August to September, and the blight in the winter was not obvious. Totally 68 species, belonging to the 29 families, are suggested as adaptable cover plants at slopeland farms in Taiwan. In Lishan, Bromus catharticus and Lolium multiflorum are recommended to retain on steep slopes;and Trifolium repens or the plants including Vernonia persica, Poa annua and Stellaria aquatica are suggested to retain on gentle slopes.
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