Great Basin Naturalist


The effects of grazing on the cryptogamic and vascular plant communities at two sites near Camp Floyd State Park, Utah County, Utah, were studied. The grazed site was subject to heavy grazing up until seven years prior to the study. The ungrazed site within the park boundaries had been protected from grazing for 20 years prior to the study and had a well-developed algal-lichen-moss crust. We found that the algae of the grazed site had recovered in terms of degree of crusting. There were no significant differences in the algal communities of the two sites when prevalent species were used as blocks in the ANOVAR analysis. However, when major algal groups were used as blocks, the analysis was significant, with the more recently grazed site having lower algal frequency. This difference, together with a few compositional differences, indicates that, although the algal community seven years following grazing is very similar to the algal community free of grazing for 20 years, the seven-year site is still in the process of recovery and community development. The diatom collections had a higher density in the grazed site, though the difference was not significant. Recovery of the lichen and moss community was not complete. The lichen Collema tenax and the mosses Bryum pallescens and Tortula ruralis were all significantly more abundant in the ungrazed area. Total cover of the lichen and moss components of the soil crusts was significantly lower in the more recently grazed area. Vascular cover was also lower.