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Ecology Vol.24, No.4, p.419-429, 2005
|Title: YEAR-ROUND CATTLE GRAZING AS AN ALTERNATIVE MANAGEMENT OF HAY MEADOWS IN THE GIANT MTS (KRKONOŠE, KARKONOSZE), THE CZECH REPUBLIC|
|Author: MICHAL HEJCMAN, DALIBOR AUF, JAN GAISLER|
|Abstract: We investigated the effect of year-round Highland cattle grazing as an alternative management form of species-rich mountain grassland in the Krkonoše National Park (Giant Mts). Traditional management of the Polygono-Trisetion grasslands consisted of mowing once or twice a year and cattle grazing for the rest of the vegetation season. Continuation of the traditional management is
not possible for its low profitability.
In spring 2000, we established a complete randomized block experiment with four replication and three treatments in 5x5 m plots. Treatments were: no management, mowing once a year and extensive grazing by Highland cattle without any management of non-grazed vegetation. Alopecurus pratensis, Dactylis glomerata, Geranium sylvaticum, Hypericum maculatum, Lathyrus pratensis, Senecio ovatus, Veratrum album subsp. lobelianum, and Veronica chamaedrys were
species which increased in cover under no management after three seasons of various management. Differences between grazed and mown plots were not significant in RDA analyses. Trifolium repens was present only in grazed plots, where we did not record any spread of nitrophilous species or excessive trampling.
The results of our study indicate that continuous cattle grazing at low intensity is able to prevent tall plant species characteristic of abandoned swards to become predominant.
Overwintering of herds with several heads of cattle on the pasture (up to 1 LU*ha-1) and continuous grazing in the vegetation season seem to be an acceptable management alternative in the protected mountain area.
|Keywords: abandonment, Highland cattle grazing, Hypericum maculatum, Montane meadow, Species diversity, RDA analysis|
|Year: 2005, Volume: 24, Issue: 4||Page From: 419, Page To: 429|