Individual study: Short-term effects of cattle browsing on tree sapling growth in mountain wooded pastures in the Jura Mountains, Switzerland
Vandenberghe C., Frelechoux F., Moravie M., Gadallah F. & Buttler A. (2007) Short-term effects of cattle browsing on tree sapling growth in mountain wooded pastures. Plant Ecology, 188, 253-264
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Restore or create wood pasture
A replicated study in May-October 2003 in pastures in the Swiss Jura Mountains (Vandenberghe et al. 2007) found that cattle browsing significantly reduced average shoot production and total above-ground biomass, and increased mortality of tree saplings of four species, whereas mowing had no impact on sapling growth. Browsing frequency decreased with increasing height of surrounding vegetation, and large saplings were browsed much more frequently than small saplings. Silver fir Abies alba was the most frequently browsed species, whilst beech Fagus sylvatica was least frequently browsed. Browsing frequency increased with grazing intensity. Sixteen blocks of eight saplings were planted in two paddocks, one of 3.3 ha and one of 4.5 ha. Each was grazed by twenty-two 18-month-old steers for four periods of 14-17 days. In the 4.5 ha paddock, four 15.5 x 18 m enclosures were set up and split into mown and control plots. Each was planted with four saplings of each species and size class. Vegetation in mown plots was cut to 3 cm five times during the experiment.