Impact of cattle grazing on the occupancy of a cryptic, threatened rail

  • Published source details Richmond O.M.W., Tecklin J. & Beissinger S.R. (2012) Impact of cattle grazing on the occupancy of a cryptic, threatened rail. Ecological Applications, 22, 1655-1664.


This study is summarised as evidence for the following.

Action Category

Other biodiversity: Exclude grazers

Action Link
Mediterranean Farmland
  1. Other biodiversity: Exclude grazers

    A replicated site comparison in 2007–2008 in marshes in northeast California, USA, found that California black rails Laterallus jamaicensis were more likely to occupy ungrazed areas, compared to cattle-grazed areas, in unirrigated marshes, but were less likely to occupy ungrazed areas in irrigated marshes. Ungrazed marshes had greater cover of wetland vegetation in one of two years. Birds: The probability of marshes containing California black rails was higher for ungrazed areas, compared to grazed areas, that were not irrigated, but lower for ungrazed areas, compared to grazed areas, that were irrigated (results reported as model coefficients). Plants: The cover of wetland vegetation was higher in ungrazed areas, compared to grazed areas, in one of two years (2007: 57–65% vs 40–58% cover; 2008: 58–69%). Methods: Fourteen ungrazed marshes (fenced between 1998–2005) and 20 winter-spring grazed marshes were surveyed for rails up to twice monthly in April–August (2007) or February–October (2008, excluding September). Vegetation was sampled every month in April–July (2007) or March–August (2008). Not all marshes were surveyed for rails or vegetation each year.


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