Journal Article

Responses of Arthropod Fauna Assemblages to Goat Grazing Management in Northern Spanish Heathlands

Rocío Rosa García, Berta M. Jáuregui, Urcesino García, Koldo Osoro and Rafael Celaya

in Environmental Entomology

Published on behalf of Entomological Society of America

Volume 38, issue 4, pages 985-995
Published in print August 2009 | ISSN: 0046-225X
Published online August 2014 | e-ISSN: 1938-2936 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1603/022.038.0405
Responses of Arthropod Fauna Assemblages to Goat Grazing Management in Northern Spanish Heathlands

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Changes in arthropod fauna assemblages after different goat grazing treatments (breeds and stocking rates) and responses to grazing cessation were studied in a heath-gorse shrubland located in northern Spain. Three treatments (low grazing pressure and high grazing pressure with Cashmere breed and high grazing pressure with local Celtiberic breed) with three replicates were randomly allocated to nine plots. Fauna data were collected three times per year during 3 grazing yr (2003, 2004, and 2005) and three times during 2007, i.e., 2 yr after grazing cessation. Arthropods were collected by 12 pitfall traps per plot, whereas vegetation cover and height were estimated by 100 random contacts per plot. Arthropod community composition was mostly affected by sampling year during the grazing period (between 2003 and 2005) but also between 2005 and 2007 (after cessation). Species composition differed between treatments, although the differences were not attributed to the stocking rates or to the goat breeds along those periods. Differences between treatments remained constant from 2003 to 2005 and between 2005 and 2007. Heather height explained most of the variance in arthropod species data during the last grazing year (2005), whereas heather cover was the most explanatory environmental variable 2 yr after grazing cessation (2007). Grazing effects still remained on both vegetation and fauna 2 yr after grazing cessation.

Keywords: ungulates; breeds; grazing pressure; insects; arachnids

Journal Article.  5882 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Entomology

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