The beef livestock system in Sardinia is based on suckler cows, often belonging to autochthonous breeds, such as the Sarda breed, and they often graze silvopastoral areas. Besides beef meat, silvopastoral systems (SPSs) provide several Ecosystem Services (ESs), such as timber provision, harvested as wood, and watershed protection. Livestock distribution is a critical factor for the sustainable use of SPSs (e.g., to avoid uneven grazing patterns) and information on patterns of spatial use are required. A study was conducted to determine: (i) the spatial distribution and (ii) the habitat selection of Sarda cattle grazing in a Mediterranean silvopastoral area. Over different seasons, 12 free-roaming adult Sarda cows were fitted with Global Positioning System (GPS) Knight tracking collars to calculate an index mapping of the incidence of livestock in the landscape (LRI) and a preference index (PI) for different areas. Since the PI data were not normally distributed, the Aligned Rank Transform (ART) procedure was used for the analysis. LRI was able to represent the spatial variability in resource utilization by livestock as a LRI map. Overall, the areas where the animals drank and received supplementation were strongly preferred by the cows, reaching PI values in the summer of 19.3 ± 4.9 (median ± interquartile range), whereas areas with predominantly rocks were strongly avoided (the worst PI value in the spring was 0.2 ± 0.6). Grasslands were, in general, used in proportion to their presence in the area, with slightly increased use in the spring (PI 1.1 ± 0.5). Forest area was avoided by cows, except in the spring when it was used in proportion to their presence in the area.

Spatial Distribution and Habitat Selection of Sarda Cattle in a Silvopastoral Mediterranean Area / Acciaro, M.; Bragaglio, A.; Pittarello, M.; Marrosu, G. M.; Sitzia, M.; Sanna, G.; Decandia, M.; Bagella, S.; Lombardi, G.. - In: ANIMALS. - ISSN 2076-2615. - 12:9(2022), p. 1167. [10.3390/ani12091167]

Spatial Distribution and Habitat Selection of Sarda Cattle in a Silvopastoral Mediterranean Area

Marrosu G. M.;Decandia M.;Bagella S.;
2022

Abstract

The beef livestock system in Sardinia is based on suckler cows, often belonging to autochthonous breeds, such as the Sarda breed, and they often graze silvopastoral areas. Besides beef meat, silvopastoral systems (SPSs) provide several Ecosystem Services (ESs), such as timber provision, harvested as wood, and watershed protection. Livestock distribution is a critical factor for the sustainable use of SPSs (e.g., to avoid uneven grazing patterns) and information on patterns of spatial use are required. A study was conducted to determine: (i) the spatial distribution and (ii) the habitat selection of Sarda cattle grazing in a Mediterranean silvopastoral area. Over different seasons, 12 free-roaming adult Sarda cows were fitted with Global Positioning System (GPS) Knight tracking collars to calculate an index mapping of the incidence of livestock in the landscape (LRI) and a preference index (PI) for different areas. Since the PI data were not normally distributed, the Aligned Rank Transform (ART) procedure was used for the analysis. LRI was able to represent the spatial variability in resource utilization by livestock as a LRI map. Overall, the areas where the animals drank and received supplementation were strongly preferred by the cows, reaching PI values in the summer of 19.3 ± 4.9 (median ± interquartile range), whereas areas with predominantly rocks were strongly avoided (the worst PI value in the spring was 0.2 ± 0.6). Grasslands were, in general, used in proportion to their presence in the area, with slightly increased use in the spring (PI 1.1 ± 0.5). Forest area was avoided by cows, except in the spring when it was used in proportion to their presence in the area.
Spatial Distribution and Habitat Selection of Sarda Cattle in a Silvopastoral Mediterranean Area / Acciaro, M.; Bragaglio, A.; Pittarello, M.; Marrosu, G. M.; Sitzia, M.; Sanna, G.; Decandia, M.; Bagella, S.; Lombardi, G.. - In: ANIMALS. - ISSN 2076-2615. - 12:9(2022), p. 1167. [10.3390/ani12091167]
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11388/298466
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