We compared the community structure, nutritive quality, and aboveground biomass of grazing lawns (patches of shortgrass communities) to neighboring grasslands in the Terai of western Nepal. Grazing lawns differed from the adjacent grasslands in species composition and community structure. Species diversity and species richness were higher on grazing lawns (H = 1.60, S = 20.93) than the grasslands (H = 0.97, S = 8.97). Fencing that excluded grazers for 150 days made areas of grazing lawns indistinguishable from neighboring grasslands in terms of plant height and biomass. Growing shoots of forage from grazing lawns had higher digestibility, crude protein, and sodium than forage from the grasslands. Grazing lawns appear to be maintained by continuous grazing and are enriched by deposition of urine, dung, and by certain plant species not found in the the adjacent grasslands.
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Vol. 32 • No. 3