RELVA Maria Andrea
congresos y reuniones científicas
Domestic cattle as drivers of Andean subtropical rainforest (Yungas) dynamics
MAZZINI, F.; RELVA, M.A.; MALIZIA, L.
Conferencia; The Rufford small grant Conference South America; 2015
The Rufford Foundation
Large mammalian herbivores play an important role as drivers of plant communities and ecosystems. Cattle have been suggested as one of the main causes of forest degradation and biodiversity impoverishment in neotropical montane forests (Yungas). Since the understanding of cattle impact on plant community is scarce and mostly based on anecdotal data, quantifying cattle use and damage is crucial in order to promote forest conservation and management. Here, we present preliminary results on cattle use and impact on abundance and composition of forestry species in Yungas montane forest. In seven sites located in Jujuy province (Argentina) we registered vegetation attributes, and animal use and relative abundance. Sites showed to be variable in cattle abundance (estimated by feces counting) and browsing pressure. Also, a trend of decreasing seedling density and height and an increasing browsing degree in sapling and seedling was observed as relative cattle abundance increased. Due to the importance in terms of biodiversity, wood provisioning and ecosystem services, Yungas management and conservation is a high priority for Argentina. KeyWords: Ungulate, Herbivory, Grazing, Impact