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Providing evidence to improve practice

Individual study: Cattle grazing, raptor abundance and small mammal communities in Mediterranean grasslands

Published source details

Torre I., Diaz M., Martínez-Padilla J., Bonal R., Vinuela J. & Fargallo J.A. (2007) Cattle grazing, raptor abundance and small mammal communities in Mediterranean grasslands. Basic and Applied Ecology, 8, 565-575


This study is summarised as evidence for the intervention(s) shown on the right. The icon shows which synopsis it is relevant to.

Exclude livestock from semi-natural habitat (including woodland) Terrestrial Mammal Conservation

A replicated, site comparison study in 1999–2001 of a grassland area in Castilla y Lyón, Spain (Torre et al. 2007) found more small mammals in plots from which cattle were excluded, compared to grazed plots. More individual small mammals were caught in grazing exclusion plots (0–16 individuals/plot) than in grazed plots (0–3 individuals/plot). Three species of mammal were found; white-toothed shrew Crocidura russula (61.6% of captures), common vole Microtus arvalis (31.9%), and wood mouse Apodemus sylvaticus (6.5%). Six grazing exclusion plots (2–10 ha) were established in reforestation areas in grasslands grazed by 2–10 cattle/ha. These areas were reforested in 1990, but few planted trees survived. Eight live traps were placed in each of 22 trapping plots (11 inside and 11 outside cattle exclosures). Traps were operated for three consecutive nights during September–October 1999 and 2000 and in June 2000 and 2001.

(Summarised by Gorm Shakelford & Nick Littlewood)

Other biodiversity: Exclude grazers Mediterranean Farmland

A replicated site comparison in 1999–2001 in grasslands in central Spain found more species and individuals of small mammals, and higher plant biomass in plots from which cattle were excluded, compared to grazed plots. Mammals: More individuals and species of small mammals were found in plots from which cattle were excluded, compared to grazed plots (3–6 vs 0 individuals/plot; species data reported as ordination results). Three species of mammal were found: white-toothed shrews Crocidura russula (61.6% of all captures), common voles Microtus arvalis (31.9%), and wood mice Apodemus sylvaticus (6.5%). Abundances of all three species appeared to be higher in ungrazed plots, although this was not tested. Plants: Plant biomass was higher and plants were taller in plots from which cattle were excluded, compared to grazed plots, although plant cover did not differ (reported as principal component analyses) Methods: Six plots to exclude cattle were established in reforestation areas in grasslands grazed at 2–10 animals/ha. These areas were used to move livestock until the 1950s and they were reforested in 1990, but few planted trees survived. Eight live traps were placed in each of 22 trapping plots (11 inside and 11 outside cattle exclosures). Traps were set and vegetation was monitored during autumn 1999 and 2000 and summer 2000 and 2001.