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Optimal grazing pressure on rocky pastures is beneficial to the development of plant species and maintenance of plant diversity. Both abandonment of grazing and overgrazing gradually reduce plant diversity. This paper correlated abundance patterns of the flora on rocky pastures with the values of the chemical composition of the soil resulting from the degree of sheep grazing intensity. The study was carried out in the period from 2008 to 2010 on the islands of Pag, Krk and Cres. At 30 sites, 310 taxa of vascular plants were found. The highest plant diversity and 220 plant taxa were found on moderately grazed pastures. Abandoned pastures with a total of 93 plant taxa observed show the dominance of phanerophytes (35.5%) and the highest proportion of the Mediterranean floral element when compared to pastures of moderate and heavy grazing intensity. The highest concentration of total nitrogen in the soil (0.71%) was recorded on plots of heavy grazing intensity. The results of the study indicate that moderate grazing intensity, from 1 to 1.5 sheep ha-1, can be recommended on the northern Adriatic islands. This should contribute not only to the preservation of plant diversity, but also to the improvement of ecological sheep farming.


chemical composition of the soil Mediterranean flora rocky pasture sheep grazing intensity

Article Details

Author Biography

Ivica Ljubicic, University of Zagreb, Faculty of Agriculture

Department of agricultural botany
How to Cite
Ljubicic, I., Britvec, M., Jelaska, S. D., & Husnjak, S. (2014). Plant diversity and chemical soil composition of rocky pastures in relation to the sheep grazing intensity on the northern Adriatic islands (Croatia). Acta Botanica Croatica, 73(2). Retrieved from

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