The Importance of Groves for Cattle in Semi-Open PasturesReport as inadecuate

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Almut Popp, Am Schäferbruch 13, Wittenburg D-19243, Germany


Klaus-Manfred Scheibe, Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research, PF 601103, Berlin D-10252, Germany


Werner-Seelenbinderstr.3, Schöneiche D-15566, Germany


Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.

Abstract Groves are of ecological importance, but can reduce the productivity of pastures. They may be used by cattle for nutrition as well as for comfort and shelter. To describe the importance and to estimate the influence of cattle on groves, the behavior of cattle around trees and shrubs was observed on six semi-open pastures in the mountain range of Thuringia and the Southern Black Forest Germany. The groves were divided into formations, species and structures. The cattle used the groves more for browsing than rubbing. Significantly preferred species calculated by Chesson-Index were dogwood Cornus sanguinea, black elder Sambucus nigra, fly honeysuckle Lonicera xylosteum, plum Prunus domestica, osier Salix viminalis, white beam Sorbus chamaemespilus, and guelder rose Viburnum opulus. The browsing preference is discussed in relation to nutritional importance and as self-medication. Cattle suppressed some species according to the utilization frequency, but for other species, there was no correlation. The animals preferred the tree hedges in comparison to the other formations. Hedges were utilized as shelter in extreme weather. In addition, under high browsing pressure, hedges were sustained and regenerated. Hedges on pastures turned out to be important for cattle under several aspects and accordingly should be preserved. View Full-Text

Keywords: browsing; bushes; comfort behavior; self-medication; preference; sheltering browsing; bushes; comfort behavior; self-medication; preference; sheltering

Author: Almut Popp 1 and Klaus-Manfred Scheibe 2,3,*



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