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Baltic Coast - Gotland / Öland

Interactions of large resident and small migratory herbivores on Baltic salt meadows.

The contrasting seasonal grazing patterns of large (cattle and sheep) and small (arctic geese) herbivores on Gotland and Öland set the scene for experimental field trials on the effects of differently sized herbivores on vegetation structure, biomass availability, plant species composition and plant diversity on Baltic salt meadows.

In a multifactorial exclosure approach, we prevented grazing by either small or small and large herbivores using a combination of chicken-wired and electro-fenced plots in a replicated design. Adjacent unfenced controls allowed for a comparison with the fully grazed situation. For a period of three seasons both on Gotland and on Öland, we measured changes in canopy height of the sward, biomass of goose forage plants, sward density and nitrogen content of forage plant and conducted a detailed investigation of plant species and cover changes on permanent plots.

Project conducted in close co-operation with Dr. Sandra van der Graaf, Prof. Dr. Jan P. Bakker (both University of Groningen, NL) and Dr. Eje Rosén (University of Uppsala, Station Linné Öland, SE).

 
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