We evaluated seven years of light cattle grazing of dune valleys (Frisian island of Vlieland) as to management objectives and effects on vegetation, flora and fauna. We compared vegetation, flora and fauna from 1993 and 2000 in a BACI-design of 14 grazed and 14 ungrazed plots, of which 20 were randomly selected from the stratum `grass overgrown moist dune valleys', and 8 from `intact Empetrum vegetations. Development towards shrubland and woodland is tempered as a consequence of cattle browsing of twigs and leaves of Prunus avium, and Betula pubescens, which reduces height and the growth form of these species. Browsing of P. avium is surprising as this is expected to occur only under shortage of other food plants. The number of seedlings under 0.5 mheight, however, increased, even in the grazed plots. Cattle form bare patches and trails in the dense and high field layers of Calamagrostis epigejos, and Carex arenaria. Vegetation height of the `overgrown valleys' increases significantly in the ungrazed plots, whereas it increases (very) lightly in the grazed plots. Numbers of plant and invertebrate species increase, which could be related to a general change to moist conditions. Grazing has neutral to light positive effects on bio-diversity, even inthe invertebrates the species number of which mostly decrease under heavier grazing pressures.
|Place of Publication||Wageningen|
|Number of pages||102|
|Publication status||Published - 2001|
- dune grasslands
- dutch wadden islands