Livestock grazing impacts on herbage and shrub dynamics in a Mediterranean natural park

  • Published source details Riedel J.L., Bernués A. & Casasús I. (2013) Livestock grazing impacts on herbage and shrub dynamics in a Mediterranean natural park. Rangeland Ecology & Management (previously Journal of Range Management 1948-2004), 66, 224-233.


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, randomized, controlled study in 2001–2005 in upland shrub pastures in northeast Spain found that shrubs and herbaceous vegetation grew faster in ungrazed plots, compared to cattle-grazed plots, resulting in greater biomass by the end of the study. Plants: Shrub biomass increased faster in ungrazed plots (2,600 vs 1,200 kg dry matter/ha/year). After five years, shrub biomass was higher in ungrazed plots (14,000 vs 6,500 kg dry matter/ha). Similar numbers of shrubs were found in ungrazed plots or grazed plots (18–45 vs 18–41 plants/transect). Herbaceous vegetation increased by 290 kg/ha/year in ungrazed plots, but did not increase in grazed plots. Herbaceous biomass was higher in ungrazed plot, in four of five years (2,100–2,800 vs 990–1,800 kg dry matter/ha). After five years, the percentage of dead herbaceous biomass was higher in ungrazed plots, compared to grazed plots (42% vs 21%). Methods: Twelve 10 x 10 m plots were established in 2001, in six shrub-dominated pastures that were grazed by cattle or sheep. Plots were fenced to exclude livestock, and vegetation was monitored with transects, quadrats, and random points in April and December each year.


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