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Horse grazing systems: understory biomass and plant biodiversity of a Pinus radiata stand

By Antonio Rigueiro-Rodríguez, Rabia Mouhbi, José Javier Santiago-Freijanes, María del Pilar González-Hernández and María Rosa Mosquera-Losada

Abstract

Horse grazing systems may affect productivity and biodiversity of understory developed under Pinus radiata D. Don silvopastoral systems, while acting as a tool to reduce the risk of fire. This study compared continuous and rotational grazing systems effect upon biomass, fractions of stem, sprouts, leaves and woody parts of Ulex europaeus L. and alpha (Species Richness, Shannon-Wiener) and beta (Jaccard and Magurran) biodiversity for a period of four years in a P. radiata silvopastoral system. The experiment consisted of a randomized block design of two treatments (continuous and rotational grazing). Biomass, and species abundances were measured - biodiversity metrics were calculated based on these results for a two years of grazing and two years of post-grazing periods. Both continuous and rotational grazing systems were useful tools for reducing biomass and, therefore, fire risk. The rotational grazing system caused damage to the U. europaeus shrub, limiting its recovery once grazing was stopped. However, the more intensive grazing of U. europaeus plants under rotational had a positive effect on both alpha and beta biodiversity indexes due to the low capacity of food selection in the whole plot rather than continuous grazing systems. Biomass was not affected by the grazing system; however the rotational grazing system is more appropriate to reduce U. europaeus biomass and therefore forest fire risk at a long term and to enhance pasture biodiversity than the continuous grazing system

Topics: silvopastoral, species richness, livestock management, shrub biomass control, fires, LCC:Agriculture (General), LCC:S1-972, LCC:Agriculture, LCC:S, DOAJ:Agriculture (General), DOAJ:Agriculture and Food Sciences
Publisher: São Paulo - Escola Superior de Agricultura "Luiz de Queiroz"
Year: 2012
DOI identifier: 10.1590/S0103-90162012000100006
OAI identifier: oai:doaj.org/article:2ceac86c720f4385bc96f03ee7812774
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