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Title: Assessing grazing behavior and intensity of small ruminants in a Mediterranean Rangeland
Authors: Mitri, George 
Gebrael, Karen 
Nasrallah, Georgy
Bou Nassar, Maria
Masri, Nour
Choueiter, Dominique
Kyriazopoulos, Apostolos
Affiliations: Institute of the Environment 
Institute of the Environment 
Keywords: GPS collars
Rangeland management
Seasonal movement
Issue Date: 2022-03-01
Part of: Livestock Research for Rural Development
Volume: 34
Issue: 3
Monitoring grazing behavior, livestock movement and grazing intensity is essential for developing and implementing sustainable rangeland management plans and avoid problems associated with over-grazing (i.e., land degradation). This work aimed at investigating the spatio-temporal characteristics of grazing behavior and intensity of small ruminants in order to be incorporated into rangelands management strategies for a specific area. The specific objectives were to 1) monitor daily movement of livestock, 2) analyze existing transhumance routes, 3) investigate the relationship of grazing behavior and intensity with seasonal variation and 4) evaluate the association between grazing intensity and exposure to land degradation. Those objectives were achieved by using remotely-sensed (RS) and Geographic Information System (GIS) data. Seasonal movements of small ruminants (i.e., goats and sheep) were monitored in lowlands and highlands and throughout transhumance. Collars mounted with a Global Positioning System were employed for use in continuous monitoring of animal movement. Daily trajectories of animals were recorded during grazing/transhumance, in addition to the daily traveled distance, total spent duration in rangelands and average movement speed in rangelands, in order to evaluate their seasonal variability. Eventually, the grazing intensity of selected herds was computed in order to assess its association with exposure to land degradation. As the daily traveled distance and the total spent duration in rangelands were significantly different in each season, the highest average grazing intensity was in forests (i.e., lower exposure to degradation) and the lowest grazing intensity was in croplands (i.e., highest exposure to degradation).
Open URL: Link to full text
Type: Journal Article
Appears in Collections:Institute of the Environment

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