Data underlying the publication: Forage quality in grazing lawns and tall grasslands in the subtropical region of Nepal and implications for wild herbivores.
We randomly laid down 1 m × 1 m quadrats with equally spaced grids of 10 cm × 10 cm in both the grazing lawns and tall grasslands. We laid down a total of 160 quadrats (eight in each sampling site) and recorded bare ground, litter, animal droppings and vegetation. Within each quadrat, we used the point intercept method at 100 sampling points to assess the percentage cover of the different plant species. We only used vegetation hits for calculating the Shannon-Wiener diversity index and species richness. We used grid corners as the point to record the hits.
We measured grass height at three random points within each 1 m × 1 m quadrat with a ruler to 0.5 cm precision. We chose three different points in different direction within a quadrat to measure the grass height. We assessed grazing intensity by visually estimating the bite marks within a quadrat at a scale from 0 to 3 [i.e., 0 – not grazed, 1 – lightly grazed, up to 25% of quadrat area grazed; 2 – moderately grazed, (up to 50% grazed), and 3 – heavily grazed ( more than 50% grazed)]. We clipped the vegetation at ground level in a 20 × 20 cm frame in the centre of each quadrat and determined fresh weight using a digital weighing scale [with a capacity of 600 g and accuracy of 0.5 mg; Brand: Equal (class II)] immediately after clipping. We hand-sorted the samples into green leaf, green stem, dry leaf and dry stem which were subsequently dried in the shade at ambient temperature (~30 °C) for five days until air-dry before recording the air-dry weight. Air-dried samples of green leaf and green stem were stored in paper bags for separate chemical analyses. We collected soil subsamples from each quadrat. The soil samples (n = 20) were placed in airtight zip-lock plastic bags for chemical analyses.
The dataset (file name: GrazingLawns_TallGrasslands_BardiaNP_Nepal.xlsx) contains three sheets: Sheet 1(veg_count_data) contains record of the grass species observed from 10 cm x 10 cm frame within a 1 m x 1m quadrat. Zero indicated – no record of species. Sheet 2 (Physical_chemical_prop) contains information on grass physical properties (height, biomass, bulk density, proportion of green leaf and stem) and soil chemical properties (soil pH, soil moisture, soil organic matter, soil nitrogen and soil phosphorus). Sheet 3 (Label) contains description for the variables mentioned in sheet 1 & 2.