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Habitat use of ponies and cattle foraging together in a coastal dune area
Lamoot, I.; Meert, C.; Hoffmann, M. (2004). Habitat use of ponies and cattle foraging together in a coastal dune area, in: Lamoot, I. Foraging behaviour and habitat use of large herbivores in coastal dune landscape = Foerageergedrag en habitatgebruik van grote herbivoren in een kustduinlandschap. pp. 54-81
In: Lamoot, I. (2004). Foraging behaviour and habitat use of large herbivores in coastal dune landscape = Foerageergedrag en habitatgebruik van grote herbivoren in een kustduinlandschap. PhD Thesis. Instituut voor Natuur- en Bosonderzoek: Brussel. ISBN 90-403-2047-2. 246 pp., more

Also published as
  • Lamoot, I.; Meert, C.; Hoffmann, M. (2005). Habitat use of ponies and cattle foraging together in a coastal dune area. Biol. Conserv. 122: 523-536. dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.biocon.2004.09.009, more
  • Lamoot, I.; Meert, C.; Hoffmann, M. (2007). Habitat use of ponies and cattle foraging together in a coastal dune area, in: VLIZ Coll. Rep. 35-36(2005-2006). VLIZ Collected Reprints: Marine and Coastal Research in Flanders, 35-36: pp. Chapter 24, more

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Authors  Top 
  • Lamoot, I., more
  • Meert, C.
  • Hoffmann, M., more

Abstract
    Grazing by large ungulates has been chosen as a management tool in scrub-dominated dune reserves at the Belgian coast. Due to morphological and physiological differences between cattle and ponies, differences in foraging behaviour and habitat use are expected, and these may result in a different impact on the spatially heterogeneous and nutrient-limited ecosystem. Grazing behaviour and habitat use of Shetland ponies and Highland cattle, grazing together in a coastal dune area (60 ha) were investigated at various levels of the foraging hierarchy (habitat, vegetation type, sward height and diet). Habitat use overlap was high in all seasons; both cattle and pony spent most of their grazing time in the grass-dominated habitat. However, Shetland ponies concentrated their grazing activity more on the grass-dominated habitat than did cattle. Cattle spent a greater proportion of their grazing activity in woodland and scrub, compared to the ponies. Foraging activity in woodland and scrub is strongly influenced by season. Within the grass-dominated habitat both species preferred foraging in the grasslands and avoided open vegetation and moss dunes. Within the grasslands, cattle grazed less on the short swards than did ponies. Both cattle and ponies predominantly foraged on graminoids, though there are minor differences between both species and among seasons. Browsing of woody plants occurred only by cattle. Where grazing management has been implemented to maintain dune grasslands and to avoid further invasion by scrub, a combination of cattle and ponies appears to be adequate. Ponies are suitable for maintaining grasslands, but they have no impact on invading scrub. Cattle have an impact on scrub development, both by direct consumption of various shrub species and by opening initially closed scrub.

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