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|Large herbivores in coastal dune management: do grazers do what they are supposed to do?|
Hoffmann, M.; Cosyns, E.; Lamoot, I. (2005). Large herbivores in coastal dune management: do grazers do what they are supposed to do?, in: Herrier, J.-L. et al. (Ed.) (2005). Proceedings 'Dunes and Estuaries 2005': International Conference on nature restoration practices in European coastal habitats, Koksijde, Belgium 19-23 September 2005. VLIZ Special Publication, 19: pp. 249-267
In: Herrier, J.-L. et al. (Ed.) (2005). Proceedings 'Dunes and Estuaries 2005': International Conference on nature restoration practices in European coastal habitats, Koksijde, Belgium 19-23 September 2005. VLIZ Special Publication, 19. Vlaams Instituut voor de Zee (VLIZ): Oostende. XIV, 685 pp., more
In: VLIZ Special Publication. Vlaams Instituut voor de Zee (VLIZ): Oostende. ISSN 1377-0950, more
Coastal dune soils; Dispersion; Dunes; Grazing; Management; Monitoring; Monitoring; Nature conservation; Seed dispersal; Seeds; ANE, Belgium, Belgian Coast [Marine Regions]; Marine
After some decades of rather sparse and more or less ad-hoc nature management (e.g. local shrub-cutting, sod-cutting, mowing), the manager of the Flemish coastal nature reserves [Nature Department (Coastal Zone Management Cell) of AMINAL, Ministry of the Flemish Community] decided to introduce a more coherent and relatively large-scale nature management approach. Since the mid-nineties, several large areas were cleared from scrubs and in the larger nature reserves different herbivore species were introduced. On historical grounds and based on general management expectations, several ungulate species were introduced (sheep, donkeys and different horse and cattle breeds). Since the herbivore introductions from 1997 onwards, research has been done on the foraging behaviour and habitat use, diet selection and preference of some of the introduced herbivores and on their potential contribution to seed dispersal. Above that, several monitoring research programmes were carried out, following the impact of the ungulates on flora, vegetation and different faunal groups in order to evaluate the effectiveness of grazing in realizing the predefined management goals. Here we summarize some results of the research focussing on the driving forces in grazing management and try to conclude on the impact they will have through their habitat use, foraging behaviour, diet selection and other behavioural aspects. We formulate generalized conclusions on the suitability and usefulness of year round grazing by domestic animals in these rather low productive, spatially and temporally heterogeneous dune ecosystems.