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Positive short-term effects of sheep grazing on the alpine avifauna

By Leif Egil Loe, Atle Mysterud, Audun Stien, Harald Steen, Darren M Evans and Gunnar Austrheim

Abstract

Grazing by large herbivores may negatively affect bird populations. This is of great conservation concern in areas with intensive sheep grazing. Sheep management varies substantially between regions, but no study has been performed in less intensively grazed systems. In a fully replicated, landscape scale experiment with three levels of sheep grazing, we tested whether the abundance and diversity of an assemblage of mountain birds were negatively affected by grazing or if grazing facilitated the bird assemblage. Density of birds was higher at high sheep density compared with low sheep density or no sheep by the fourth grazing season, while there was no clear effect on bird diversity. Thus, agricultural traditions and land use politics determining sheep density may change the density of avifauna in either positive or negative directions

Topics: Research Article
Publisher: The Royal Society
OAI identifier: oai:pubmedcentral.nih.gov:2373819
Provided by: PubMed Central
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