Grassland Science

The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Grassland Science


a branch of geobotany (more precisely, of biogeocenology); the scientific basis of grassland management.

The main objectives of grassland science are to establish and describe the types of grasslands and the patterns of their distribution; to elucidate the structure and dynamics of grassland biogeocenoses, including those affected by man; and to study the biological, ecological, and economic characteristics of the plants growing on grasslands. The principal methods used in grassland science are field trips to identify and map the types of grasslands and their distribution in given regions or farm areas; and field station research (including experimental stations) in typical areas, to determine the changes taking place in grassland biogeocenoses and in plant reproduction (seasonal or annual changes under natural conditions or under the influence of other factors). The field trip approach provides information for the regionalization of management methods and the correct utilization of the lands. The other approach creates a scientific foundation for the development of methods for the most efficient use and improvement of grasslands.

In the 19th century, field trips were made, and experimental field stations were set up (for example, the Rothamsted Experiment Station in Great Britain). At the beginning of the 20th century, A. K. Kaiander studied grassland vegetation in Russia in the Lena, Onega, and Kem’ floodplains. A. M. Dmitriev did similar studies of the floodplains of the Severnaia Dvina and the upper Volga. Studies that had originally been done in Tver, Vladimir, Voronezh, and Simbirsk provinces were carried out after the October Revolution of 1917 in all of the oblasts and republics. In 1922, V. R. Vil’iams and Dmitriev founded the State Grasslands Institute (the present-day V. R. Vil’iams All-Union Fodder Research Institute). In 1932-34, L. G. Ramenskii directed an inventory of natural forage lands, and data were compiled on the acreage occupied by the various types of grass-lands in the oblasts and republics. Subsequently, research was conducted by the botanical and agricultural institutions of various governmental departments. Of greatest importance were studies by A. P. Shennikov, Ramenskii, S. P. Smelov (the biology of grassland vegetation), and I. V. Larin, who directed the preparation of a three-volume survey of the forage of natural hayfields and pastures. A great deal of research on grasslands is being done in Western Europe (Great Britain, the Netherlands, the Federal Republic of Germany, the German Democratic Republic, and Czechoslovakia) and in New Zealand.


Shennikov, A. P. Lugovedenie. Leningrad, 1941.
Smelov, S. P. Teoreticheskie osnovy lugovodstva. Moscow, 1966.
Ramenskii, L. G. Izbr. raboty. Leningrad, 1971.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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