Research Station Agroscope Changins-Wädenswil, CH-1260-Nyon 1

Rotational grazing with sheep on a high altitude pasture: impact on the vegetation

The use of high altitude pastures with sheep is delicate. A bad management is a threat to the vegetation and the diversity of the flora diminishes. The goal of the study was to assess the effect of a strict pasture rotation on the diversity of vegetation. Botanical analyses have been carried out in 2002 and 2009 on 36 plots by means of the Braun-Blanquet method. During this period, the main indicators (number of species, indexes of Shannon and evenness) remained stable or evolved positively. The vegetation, in terms of botanical composition and abundance, did not undergo any important changes. The results suggest that the rotation pasture, if well managed, enables at maintaining the diversity of the vegetation. However, due to the short span of time of the survey, the results have to be interpreted with care.

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