Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Rabbit and cow graze together

10.10.2003


According to Dutch researcher Liesbeth Bakker, rabbits prefer grassland grazed by cows. The rabbits benefit from grass that has been grazed short by the cows as this is of a good quality. Furthermore, this grazing relationship leads to a greater diversity of plant species.



The researchers studied a number of plots in the Junner Koeland, a floodplain grassland along the river Overijsselse Vecht. Staatsbosbeheer uses cows to manage the grassland vegetation. However, the numerous rabbits and meadow voles grazing in the area actually consume more grass than the cows.

Rabbits appear to have a preference for grassland that has been grazed by cows. Cows graze away the longer vegetation, leaving shorter grass that is easier for the rabbits to eat. Meadow voles avoid such areas of short grass as this does not provide them with enough cover to escape from their enemies.


Grazing by both cows and rabbits leads to a great diversity of plants. In particular, prostrate herbs such as self-heal, bulbous buttercup and cat’s ear thrive in short vegetation, because then they receive enough light to survive. The greatest diversity of plants is found in places where rabbit digging has resulted in bare soil. Therefore, cows ensure that sufficient light reaches the ground, whilst rabbits ensure good germination spots for prostrate herbs.

Finally, Bakker discovered that rabbits are a key factor in determining the extent of shrub cover and whether or not oak seedlings can grow in this. If there are few rabbits, shrub cover can develop in an area grazed by cows and the oak seedlings can root in the shrubs because the shrubs protect the seedlings from the cows. If there are many rabbits, these eat part of the shrub cover and in so doing eliminate the places where oaks can establish.

The vegetation on the Junner Koeland is a mosaic of grassland, shrub cover and oak wood. Such a landscape often contains a large diversity of plants and animals. Management of these natural habitats requires a knowledge of how different grazers affect the ecosystem concerned.

Sonja Jacobs | alfa

More articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation:

nachricht Safeguarding sustainability through forest certification mapping
27.06.2017 | International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA)

nachricht Dune ecosystem modelling
26.06.2017 | Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg im Breisgau

All articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Can we see monkeys from space? Emerging technologies to map biodiversity

An international team of scientists has proposed a new multi-disciplinary approach in which an array of new technologies will allow us to map biodiversity and the risks that wildlife is facing at the scale of whole landscapes. The findings are published in Nature Ecology and Evolution. This international research is led by the Kunming Institute of Zoology from China, University of East Anglia, University of Leicester and the Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research.

Using a combination of satellite and ground data, the team proposes that it is now possible to map biodiversity with an accuracy that has not been previously...

Im Focus: Climate satellite: Tracking methane with robust laser technology

Heatwaves in the Arctic, longer periods of vegetation in Europe, severe floods in West Africa – starting in 2021, scientists want to explore the emissions of the greenhouse gas methane with the German-French satellite MERLIN. This is made possible by a new robust laser system of the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT in Aachen, which achieves unprecedented measurement accuracy.

Methane is primarily the result of the decomposition of organic matter. The gas has a 25 times greater warming potential than carbon dioxide, but is not as...

Im Focus: How protons move through a fuel cell

Hydrogen is regarded as the energy source of the future: It is produced with solar power and can be used to generate heat and electricity in fuel cells. Empa researchers have now succeeded in decoding the movement of hydrogen ions in crystals – a key step towards more efficient energy conversion in the hydrogen industry of tomorrow.

As charge carriers, electrons and ions play the leading role in electrochemical energy storage devices and converters such as batteries and fuel cells. Proton...

Im Focus: A unique data centre for cosmological simulations

Scientists from the Excellence Cluster Universe at the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität Munich have establised "Cosmowebportal", a unique data centre for cosmological simulations located at the Leibniz Supercomputing Centre (LRZ) of the Bavarian Academy of Sciences. The complete results of a series of large hydrodynamical cosmological simulations are available, with data volumes typically exceeding several hundred terabytes. Scientists worldwide can interactively explore these complex simulations via a web interface and directly access the results.

With current telescopes, scientists can observe our Universe’s galaxies and galaxy clusters and their distribution along an invisible cosmic web. From the...

Im Focus: Scientists develop molecular thermometer for contactless measurement using infrared light

Temperature measurements possible even on the smallest scale / Molecular ruby for use in material sciences, biology, and medicine

Chemists at Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (JGU) in cooperation with researchers of the German Federal Institute for Materials Research and Testing (BAM)...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Plants are networkers

19.06.2017 | Event News

Digital Survival Training for Executives

13.06.2017 | Event News

Global Learning Council Summit 2017

13.06.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Supersensitive through quantum entanglement

28.06.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy under real ambient pressure conditions

28.06.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Mice provide insight into genetics of autism spectrum disorders

28.06.2017 | Health and Medicine

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>