Title: Response of Icelandic soils to grazing exclusion

Author(s): Gertrude Akello
Final project
Year of publication:
grazing exclusion, soil properties, rangelands, livestock, degradation


Grazing exclusion is a common practice for restoration of degraded rangelands. A study was carried out on common grazing lands of Iceland at Audkuluheidi and Theistareykir, to assess the effect of short-term grazing exclusion on different soil properties. Soil samples were collected inside and outside grazing exclosures at two depths (0-5 and 5-10 cm). Soil pH, organic matter content and C:N ratios were analysed for each plot. With reference to the fenced plots, there were no significant differences in soil chemical properties between the two sites but local differences between habitats (gravel desert and heath) are reported. The results point to the fact that the practice of grazing exclusion has no effect on the soil chemical properties in the short term. Long term monitoring in these areas could inform about the minimum time needed to detect differences between fenced and non-fenced areas, to report on the optimal exclusion duration for soil recovery in Icelandic rangelands. Such studies would provide valuable information on the conservation and use of these common grazing lands to a nation with such a rich culture of grazing.


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