A field study was carried out to quantify the effects of different cutting time on Leymus chinensis population and community characteristics in Songnen grassland of northeast China from 4 May to 23 June. The treatment interval was ten days with the remaining stubble height of 2 cm. The results showed that cutting at different time had a significant impact on L. chinensis community in Songnen grassland. Cutting before late May could provide high quality of forage grass for livestock,at the same time,the regrowth yield and quality of L. chinensis population and community had no significant differ-ence with the no cutting treatment. However,cutting after June would go against L. chinensis regrowth and lower the competitiveness and dominant position of L. chinensis in the community,as well as annual weeds ratio increased in the community,thus,the forage quality reduced and would be not conducive to maintain grassland health. The functional group richness of the plant communities were not significantly affected by cutting at different beginning of growing season,which declared that plant species richness re-sponse was more sensitive to disturbance in absolute dominant species of L. chinensis in Songnen grass-land,and farmers should be more focused on species richness in grassland management rather than func-tional group richness.
Chinese Journal of Grassland