The effect of grazing on biodiversity in coastal dune heathlands

Abstract

The effect of sheep grazing on species richness, higher order diversity measures, inequality, species composition, functional diversity and allometric relationships at a coastal dune heathland site was investigated. After a prescribed fire in 2002, the site was divided into two parts, where one of the parts was unmanaged and the other part was fenced and grazed by sheep. Sheep grazing had a positive effect on species richness as well as a significant positive effect on the functional diversity at the coastal dune heathland site. Generally, the cover of dwarf shrubs was negatively affected by grazing, whereas the cover of sedges and grasses was positively affected by grazing. There is a need for comparative investigations of the effect of different management methods not only on floristic biodiversity, but on all relevant kinds of biodiversity as well as on soil structure, soil chemistry and habitat micro- and macrostructure. Consequently, we advocate the initiation of an international systematic investigation of the effect of different management methods.

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Correspondence to Christian Damgaard.

Appendices

Appendices

Appendix A Species observed in the ungrazed and grazed areas. Lifeforms db: dwarf shrub, di: dieoecious plants, g: grasses, s: “sedges”, t: trees
Appendix B The estimated mean cover (q) and intra-plot correlation (δ) for all the species at the grazed and ungrazed areas, and the probability (P) that the cover differs between grazed and ungrazed areas

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Damgaard, C., Thomsen, M.P., Borchsenius, F. et al. The effect of grazing on biodiversity in coastal dune heathlands. J Coast Conserv 17, 663–670 (2013). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11852-013-0265-0

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Keywords

  • Sheep grazing
  • Coastal dune heathlands
  • Species richness
  • Biodiversity