Modify grazing regime: Wetland
Overall effectiveness category Awaiting assessment
Number of studies: 1
Background information and definitions
Grazing by livestock changes habitats by reducing vegetation height and ground cover, altering plant abundance and diversity, creating openings for seed growth and preventing reed or shrub growth. While heavy grazing by some wild grazers can have detrimental effects on reptile populations (Howland et al. 2014), the result of different grazing regimes on reptiles will likely depend on the reptile species, grazing intensity and the timing of grazing activity. Studies included in this intervention measure the impacts of varying intensities of grazing or different types of grazing regimes on reptiles. Studies that just compare the effect of stopping all grazing to continued grazing are included under the intervention Cease livestock grazing.
For interventions that aim to reduce the detrimental effects of grazing by wild herbivores see Threat: Invasive or problematic species - Remove or control invasive or problem herbivores and seed eaters.
Howland B., Stojanovic D., Gordon I.J., Manning A.D., Fletcher D. & Lindenmayer D.B. (2014) Eaten out of house and home: impacts of grazing on ground-dwelling reptiles in Australian grasslands and grassy woodlands. PLoS One, 9, e105966.
Supporting evidence from individual studies
A controlled, before-and-after study in 1997–2013 in two marshes with canals in Camargue, France (Ficheux et al. 2014) found that autumn–winter grazing and autumn–spring flooding increased European pond turtle Emys orbicularis abundance compared to high density spring–summer grazing and winter–spring marsh flooding. European pond turtle abundance was greater with moderate density autumn–winter grazing and autumn–spring marsh flooding (192–436 individuals), compared to high density spring–summer grazing and winter–spring marsh flooding (107–182 individuals) or low year-round grazing and flooding (182–227 individuals). In a nearby site with moderate year-round grazing and flooding, European pond turtle abundance was stable over the same time period (29–153 individuals). Incidences of trampling by grazing animals were higher with moderate-density autumn–winter grazing (10 individuals) or low-density year-round grazing (13 individuals) compared to high-density spring–summer grazing (4 individuals; results were not statistically tested). In 1997–2001, two sites (100–250 ha, 1.5 km apart) were flooded and grazed year-round at low-moderate stocking density. In one site, in 2002–2006, water levels were modified to create a dry period in summer–autumn, with natural flooding in winter–spring and grazing was changed to high density stocking in spring–summer (see original paper for details). In the same site, in 2007–2013, the flooding period was extended so that autumn–spring were flooded and only summer was dry, and moderate density grazing took place in autumn–winter. In April–August 1997–2013, turtles were live-trapped at both sites (7,059 total captures of 963 individuals).Study and other actions tested