The University of Arizona

Above-ground phytomass dynamics in a grassland steppe of Patagonia, Argentina.

G.E. Defosse, M.B. Bertiller, J.O. Ares


Aerial phytomass and litter dynamics of a grassland steppe in Patagonia, Argentina, were studied at either monthly or bimonthly intervals for 2 years. This area is characterized by a cold and wet winter (June to September) and a warm and dry summer (December to March). The growing season extends from September to April, with moist spring and fall periods interrupted by a midsummer drought. Festuca pallescens (St. Yves) Parodi produced about 95% of the total annual phytomass. Peaks of green phytomass were recorded in spring-summer of the first growing season (33.6 +/- 2.9 g . m-2) and in early spring (35.0 +/- 2.4 g . m-2) and fall (32.7 +/- 2.7 g . m-2) of the second growing season. Less abundant forage grasses were Poa ligularis Nees ap Steudel, Bromus setifolius Presl., Hordeum comosum Presl., and Rytidosperma virescens (Desvaux) Nicors. Shrubs and forbs represented less than 2% of the total annual phytomass of this grassland. The relationships between phytomass production of the main species and some environmental variables are discussed. These results contribute to the knowledge of above-ground phytomass dynamics and forage availability throughout seasons of this grassland in Patagonia, and are part of the data necessary for proper range management planning. This information will permit the designing of appropriate grazing schedules by balancing the number of grazing animals to the forage resources available.


Poa;Bromus;Poa ligularis;festuca pallescens;rytidosperma virescens;bromus setifolius;hordeum comosum;Hordeum;Festuca;steppes;population dynamics;pastures;Poaceae;biomass production;range management;Argentina;botanical composition

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