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C R Biol. 2010 Mar;333(3):226-34. doi: 10.1016/j.crvi.2009.12.008. Epub 2010 Jan 27.

Arthropod fauna on grassland-heathland associations under different grazing managements with domestic ruminants.

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  • 1Servicio Regional de Investigación y Desarrollo Agroalimentario, 33300 Villaviciosa, Asturias, Spain.


The effects of two grazer species (cattle or sheep) and two flock types (single or mixed with goats) on vegetation and arthropod fauna were studied in a factorial design on eight plots which comprised two thirds of mechanically cleared heathland and one third of improved ryegrass-clover grassland. After six grazing seasons, the shrubland areas were dominated by gorse (Ulex gallii) in all treatments. Herbaceous cover was higher under mixed than under single grazing, and under sheep than under cattle grazing. Higher captures of Opiliones, Julida, Lithobiomorpha, Microcoryphia and Carabidae were recorded in shrublands than in grasslands, while the reverse was observed for Linyphiidae, Lycosidae and Hemiptera. Within shrublands, fauna responded to the flock type but not to the grazer species. More arthropod groups favoured the patchier areas with higher herbaceous biomass generated by mixed herds with goats. Within grasslands, species-specific responses to the grazer species were observed. Mixed grazing schemes which include goats within partially improved heathlands could contribute to maintain higher biodiversity levels in these marginal areas.

Copyright 2009 Académie des sciences. Published by Elsevier SAS. All rights reserved.

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