RELVA Maria Andrea
congresos y reuniones científicas
Impacts of domestic cattle on forest and woody ecoregions in southern South America
Congreso; IUFRO Conference: Adaptive Management for Forested Landscapes in transformation; 2018
Institución organizadora:
Forest impacts by domestic cattle have been widely recognized as a conservation and management challenge. To promote cattle management compatible with forest conservation it is necessary to have sound information on the main ecosystem processes and functions affected by cattle ranching and its associated activities. We are interested, on how cattle effects vary across forest and woody ecosystems in southern South America. We conducted a peer-reviewed literature search considering a large array of ecological variables and their report of positive, negative or neutral effects in light of nature conservation and sustainability forest management. A total of 126 original articles with 211 study cases were identified through the systematic review. This study clearly shows that cattle mainly have negative effects for nature conservation and sustainability forest management in all ecoregions and for most ecological variables considered. Research efforts on cattle effects are concentrated in two (Patagonian forests and Chaco) out of the eight forest and woody ecoregions. Negative effects on the main ecological variable were reported in 66% of the cases, positive effects 16%, and 18% had neutral or non-significant effects. Among the most studied variables conservation of vegetation structure, composition and dynamics was on first place with 61% of cases, on second conservation of faunal diversity (21%) and third conservation of soil features (11%). The remaining variables (Reduction of fire frequency, Conservation of landscape features, Prevention of plant invasion, and Maintenance of abiotic conditions) were much lesser studied (~7%). Further research is needed in forest ecoregions with high biodiversity where cattle impacts remain largely unknown. We identified key ecological aspect, such cattle-disturbance interactions (fire, invasions) that have been scarcely covered. Additional research is vital to improve our understanding of the interactions between domestic cattle and forests and to guide synergies between sustainable management and forest conservation.