Vegetative colonization and succession and the impacts of trampling in the Carberry Sand Hills, Manitoba

Thumbnail Image
Ward, Marjorie Herring.
Journal Title
Journal ISSN
Volume Title
The Carberry Sand Hills of Manitoba, an area of bare and stabilized dunes and rolling prairie are described in terms of their environmental characterisitics and plant communities. Four successional stages were examined between May and October in 1976 and 1977. Data indicate that open dunes move 15 to 20 cm a year and have scattered areas colonized by Andropogon gerardi, Oryzopsis hymenoides and Helianthus petiolaris. Complete colonization of the dunes is expected between 1987 and 1994. Sites intermediate between bare dunes and prairie are vegetated by Andropogon gerardi, Koeleria cristata, Elaeagnus commutata, Petalostemum candidum, Andropogon scoparius and Bouteloua curtipendula. Prairie species include Juniperus horizontalis, Stipa spartea, Carex spp. and Bouteloua gracilis. Species behavior follows two patterns: either a maximum prominence (cover_-- frequency) is attained at the time of flowering or two maxima are attained corresponding with the times of flowering and vegetative reproduction respectively. Increasing vegetation development is accompanied by a decline in pH and an increase in organic matter. Nutrient levels in all soils are low and probably limit growth. ... A study of trampling impacts on the four communities showed that all sites were damaged by 20 bi-weekly tramples. Species which were able to recover included Petalostemum candidum, which reproduced by seed on Site II, and Andropogon gerardi, which reproduced from rhizomes on Site III. Mosses and Artemisia frigida were observed in the recovery phase in the prairie trample plots.