Grass Production

Grasslands are characterized by dominance of grass species, with a few trees or total absence of trees or other perennials. Estimates of above-ground grass production, which is part of the annual carbon cycle, may not be very relevant to carbon inventory projects or greenhouse gas inventory programmes. However, estimating grass production is essential for grassland reclamation projects. The method for estimating grass production is similar to that for annual herbs, and the following steps could be adopted:

Step 1: Select the grassland category or grassland improvement project activity and stratify the land area.

Step 2: Adopt standard sampling procedures: decide on the size and number of plots and locate them in the field using the procedure described for herb plots. Step 3: Select four to five tree quadrats the same way tree or shrub quadrats are selected, or select the tree quadrat itself in forests or plantations Step 4: Divide each shrub or tree quadrat into 12 subplots of 1 x 1 m to represent 12

months of a year and mark and fence the plots. Step 5: Harvest the grass by clipping the above-ground biomass in subplot 1 of quadrat 1 and determine the fresh and dry weight of the grass biomass harvested. Step 6: Repeat the harvest procedure for subplot 1 of all the quadrats the same month, estimate the fresh and dry weight of grass biomass (grams/square metres) and convert it to per hectare estimate of grass production (grams/ hectare) in terms of dry weight. Step 7: Next month, repeat the harvest and biomass estimation in subplot 2 of each of the four or five quadrats, estimate fresh and dry weight, and estimate the grass production (dry weight) for that month in terms of grams/hectare. Step 8: Repeat the process monthly to cover the remaining months. Compile the monthly production of grass biomass (grams/hectare), calculate the average biomass for all the grass-growing months, and select the month in which grass production is maximum to assess the productivity of that grassland category. Harvesting could be avoided when no biomass growth is likely.

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