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Grazing vs. mowing: A meta-analysis of biodiversity benefits forgrassland management
Linköping University, Department of Physics, Chemistry and Biology, Biology. Linköping University, Faculty of Science & Engineering.
MTA-DE Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services Research Group, Egytem tér 1, Debrecen H-4032, Hungary.
Ecology and Conservation Biology, Institute of Plant Sciences, University of Regensburg, D-93040 Regensburg, Germany.
University of Debrecen, Department of Ecology, P.O. Box 71, Debrecen H-4010, Hungary.
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2016 (English)In: Agriculture, Ecosystems & Environment, ISSN 0167-8809, E-ISSN 1873-2305, Vol. 222, 200-212 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

To maintain the high biodiversity of semi-natural grasslands, management by grazing or mowing isneeded. Given the limited resources and few remaining areas, the best management method should beused. However, only a few studies comparing the effects of mowing and grazing on grassland biodiversityexists. Therefore, the goal of the present review was to extract as much data as possible from theliterature and evaluate them using a meta-analysis approach. We searched scientific and grey literaturefor studies comparing the effects of grazing and annual mowing on outcomes relevant for biodiversityconservation. We identified 35 relevant studies on grazing and annual mowing that provided datasuitable for the meta-analysis. We found that grazing generally had a more positive effect on theconservation value of semi-natural grasslands compared to mowing, but effect sizes were generally smallto moderate for most contrasts. Furthermore, effects varied across some grassland characteristics e.g. fordifferent grassland types, with grazing and mowing having a similar effect or mowing having a morepositive effect in certain cases. Our results suggest, that in most cases grazing should be the preferredmanagement method when managing for grassland conservation.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Elsevier, 2016. Vol. 222, 200-212 p.
Keyword [en]
Conservation management Cutting Evidence-based Livestock grazing Meadow Pasture Semi-natural grassland
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URN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-125592DOI: 10.1016/j.agee.2016.02.008OAI: diva2:907097
Available from: 2016-02-26 Created: 2016-02-26 Last updated: 2016-03-10

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Tälle, MalinWesterberg, Lars
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