RELVA Maria Andrea
Impacts of domestic cattle on forest and woody ecosystems in southern South America
MAZZINI, F.; RELVA, M. A.; MALIZIA, L. R.
Año: 2018 vol. 219 p. 913 - 925
There is a long lasting debate on theeffects of domestic cattle grazing on natural ecosystemsworldwide. Cattle are generally assumed to havenegative effects on forest conservation; however,several studies also report positive and neutral effects.We aimed to investigate the available evidence forpositive, negative and neutral effects of cattle grazingon forest and woody ecosystems of southern SouthAmerica. We conducted a peer-review literaturesearch using the ISI Web of Knowledge and Scopusdatabases to identify studies dealing with cattleimpacts for nature conservation. We compiled adatabase of 211 cases from 126 original publications.A reduced number of forest ecosystems (Patagonianforest, Chaco and Monte) concentrated 85% of thereported study cases. The hierarchical cluster analysisto group cases based on cattle effects, ecologicalvariables and ecosystems reported that negativeeffects (66% of cases) were mostly informed forvegetation variables and mainly occur in Patagonianforest and Chaco; positive effects (16%) weremostly informed for Monte (no particular variableassociated), while neutral effects (18%) weremostly informed for fauna-related variables andUruguayan savanna. Our study suggests that grazingeffects by cattle on southern South America forests arenot homogeneous and depend on the particular forestecosystem considered as well as on the forest attributemeasured. Different cattle effects found can bepartially explained by differences in grazing historyand different ecosystems productivity. It is vital toimprove our understanding of cattle?forest interactionsto guide synergies between sustainable managementand forest conservation.