Grazing Intensity and Ecosystem Services

Alp Laret

The vegetation of our mountain pastures is shaped by centuries-long grazing with livestock. Different species and breeds of grazing animals use and influence the vegetation in different ways. With mixed grazing, the advantages of the various species can be combined. Mixed herds of cattle and sheep were studied in experiments.

Low-input breeds place lower demands on the feeding basis than high-performance breeds. At present, we are conducting a comparative study to determine whether Highland Cattle suckler cows differ from those of other breeds in terms of grazing behaviour and effect on the vegetation. 

Through their management of grazing, the herdsmen determine the effect of grazing on the grazing ecosystem. Using GPS tracking, we quantify the local grazing intensity in summer farms, and the effect on the ecosystem services forage production, species diversity and carbon storage.




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