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An analysis of botanical and functional diversity of mountain grasslands in relation to herbivore production systems

Abstract : Managed grasslands provide environmental and agronomic services that can be predicted from the botanical and functional composition of the vegetation. In mountain regions such as the Massif Central of France, herbivore production systems are based on permanent grasslands. In this study we aimed to test within a common area, the Rochefort-Montagne’s area, to what extent grassland botanical and functional diversity is related to the type of herbivore production system. From inquiries in 19 farms and floristic functional characteristics of 120 permanent grassland plots, we analysed the intra and inter plot diversity taking into account the type of production system (dairy cattle only, beef cattle only, mixed dairy and beef cattle, mixed dairy cattle and sheep), the management of the plot (cut or grazed) and the altitude. The grasslands were classified in 3 vegetation groups: the 1st includes 75 plots in rich environment, with productive species but a low diversity, the 2nd includes 32 plots in rich environment, with a good agronomic value and a larger diversity in botanic families, and the 3rd includes 13 plots in lower fertility environment and agronomic value, but with higher diversity in grasses and forbs. The diversity of plot types is higher above 1000m, whereas at low altitude the plots are mainly in the first group. Compared to specialized dairy cattle systems, the mixed systems (dairy and beef cattle, dairy cattle and sheep) present a higher diversity of types of grasslands, which can be valorised by the complementary of the animal needs of the different herds and animal categories. The variability of production systems within an area should also favour environmental services related to grassland diversity.
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Submitted on : Wednesday, June 3, 2020 - 12:05:18 PM
Last modification on : Thursday, September 1, 2022 - 4:00:50 AM


  • HAL Id : hal-02747577, version 1
  • PRODINRA : 164087



René Baumont, Benoît Dallery, Fabrice Landré, Mélanie Beaumont, Pascal P. Carrère, et al.. An analysis of botanical and functional diversity of mountain grasslands in relation to herbivore production systems. 16. Meeting of the FAO CIHEAM Mountain Pastures Networks, May 2011, Kraków, Poland. 182 p. ⟨hal-02747577⟩



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