Forest pasturing of livestock in Norway: effects on spruce regeneration
Journal article, Peer reviewed
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Original versionJournal of Forestry Research. 2014, 25 941-945. 10.1007/s11676-014-0487-5
Forest pasturing of free-roaming livestock is a common practice in many parts of the world, but knowledge on how it affects tree regeneration in boreal forests is lacking. We mapped tree density, livestock site use and accumulated damage to young trees of commercial interest (Norway spruce, Picea abies L. Karst.) on 56 clearcuts inside and outside a fenced forest area used for livestock pasturing in Ringsaker, Norway. Inside the fence 56±1.8% of spruce trees were damaged compared to 37±3.4% outside. Proportion of damaged spruce trees was positively related to cattle use of the clearcut, but not so for sheep. On the most intensively used clearcuts, four out of five trees were damaged. The density of deciduous trees was five times lower inside compared to outside of the fence (varying with plant species). While livestock grazing may reduce resource competition in favour of spruce, the current animal density clearly is impeding forest regeneration in the study area.