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Does wild boar rooting affect livestock grazing areas in alpine grasslands?

Abstract

Interactions between traditional livestock management practices and wildlife activities are important in the conservation of many mountain ecosystems including the summer rangelands in the Spanish Central Pyrenees, where rooting by wild boar (Sus scrofa) is a large disturbance that can reduce the amount of area available to grazing livestock. This study explored the likely impact of wild boar rooting on Pyrenean grasslands. It quantified the extent of wild boar rooting in livestock grazing areas and determined whether wild boars selected or avoided areas depending on the type of livestock and stocking rates. Wild boar rooting affected 16% of livestock grazing area and occurred in sites that were grazed by cattle, rather than by sheep. In addition, a preference for areas that had intermediate stocking rates was found. The relationship between the increase in the number of wild boars and trends in livestock management suggests that the extent of wild boar rooting will increase especially in cattle grazing areas, and therefore, the area available for cattle grazing in Pyrenean mountain rangelands would decrease significantly.

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Acknowledgements

We thank the staff of OMPNP for the support and data provided. This research was funded by the Spanish Ministry of Science and Innovation and the Spanish Ministry of Environment (MAM 2484/2002-059/2002 and PN-MEC CGL2005-01131/BOS respectively), including a pre-doctoral fellowship to CGB. Earlier versions of the manuscript were considerably improved by S. Palacio, and B. MacWhirter improved the English version.

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Correspondence to C. Guillermo Bueno.

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Communicated by C. Gortázar

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Bueno, C.G., Barrio, I.C., García-González, R. et al. Does wild boar rooting affect livestock grazing areas in alpine grasslands?. Eur J Wildl Res 56, 765–770 (2010). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10344-010-0372-2

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s10344-010-0372-2

Keywords

  • Digging
  • Disturbance
  • Cattle
  • Sheep
  • Stocking rate
  • Sus scrofa