Use traditional breeds of livestock
Overall effectiveness category Unknown effectiveness (limited evidence)
Number of studies: 1
Background information and definitions
Traditional livestock breeds are often suggested to help enhance biodiversity, though motivations for doing so are often little studied and rely on anecdotal evidence (Rook et al. 2004).
Rook A.J., Dumont B., Isselstein J., Osoro K., WallisDeVriese M.F. Parente G. & Mills J. (2004) Matching type of livestock to desired biodiversity outcomes in pastures – a review. Biological Conservation, 119, 137–150.
Supporting evidence from individual studies
A replicated, randomized, controlled study in 2002–2004 on grassland in France, Germany, Italy and the UK (Wallis De Vries et al. 2007) found that areas grazed by traditional livestock breeds did not have more European hares Lepus europaeus than did areas grazed by commercial breeds. Too few hares were recorded to enable statistical analyses. At the UK site, where most hares were recorded, numbers were similar between areas grazed by traditional breeds (15 hares) and commercial breeds (14 hares). Traditional cattle breeds were Devon, German Angus and Salers, compared with commercial Charolais × Fresian, Simmental and Charolais, in the UK, Germany and France respectively. In Italy traditional Karst sheep were compared with commercial Finnish Romanovs. There were three traditional breed paddocks and three commercial breed paddocks (paddock size 0.4–3.6 ha) at single sites in each of the four countries. Hares were counted every two weeks in early morning, from May to October of 2002–2004, during seven minutes of observation and by walking a transect in each paddock.Study and other actions tested