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Facilitative and competitive interactions between sympatric cattle, red deer and wild boar in Dutch woodland pastures


Use of cattle-grazed and ungrazed woodland pastures by red deerCervus elaphus Linnaeus, 1758 and wild boarSus scrofa Linnaeus, 1758 was investigated monthly by measuring dung-deposition rates. CattleBos taurus grazed pastures year-round, with peak intensities during the growing season (May–September). Red deer and wild boar grazed pastures primarily during autumn and winter (October–April) when cattle occupancy was at a minimum. The lower occupancy of cattle in pastures from November to April was interpreted as the result of competition with red deer. Mean sward height in this period fell below 6.5 cm. In autumn and winter a negative relationship was found for red deer and wild boar occupancy with sward height, which indicated that red deer and wild boar preferred swards previously grazed by cattle. At the start of the growing season, when cattle occupancy in the pastures increased, red deer switched their habitat preference and almost totally disappeared from pastures to use alternative feeding grounds. Interpretation of the results lead to the conclusion that facilitative and competitive interactions occurred between sympatric cattle and red deer in woodland pastures, and to some extent also between cattle and wild boar.

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Associate Editor was Andrzej Zalewski.

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Kuiters, A.T., Bruinderink, G.W.T.A.G. & Lammertsma, D.R. Facilitative and competitive interactions between sympatric cattle, red deer and wild boar in Dutch woodland pastures. Acta Theriol 50, 241–252 (2005). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF03194487

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Key words

  • cattle
  • Cervus elaphus
  • competition
  • facilitation
  • Sus scrofa
  • woodland pastures