Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Rabbit And Cow Graze Together

Date:
October 13, 2003
Source:
Netherlands Organization For Scientific Research
Summary:
According to Dutch researcher Liesbeth Bakker, rabbits prefer grassland grazed by cows. The rabbits benefit from grass that has been grazed short by the cows as this is of a good quality. Furthermore, this grazing relationship leads to a greater diversity of plant species.

According to Dutch researcher Liesbeth Bakker, rabbits prefer grassland grazed by cows. The rabbits benefit from grass that has been grazed short by the cows as this is of a good quality. Furthermore, this grazing relationship leads to a greater diversity of plant species.

The researchers studied a number of plots in the Junner Koeland, a floodplain grassland along the river Overijsselse Vecht. Staatsbosbeheer uses cows to manage the grassland vegetation. However, the numerous rabbits and meadow voles grazing in the area actually consume more grass than the cows.

Rabbits appear to have a preference for grassland that has been grazed by cows. Cows graze away the longer vegetation, leaving shorter grass that is easier for the rabbits to eat. Meadow voles avoid such areas of short grass as this does not provide them with enough cover to escape from their enemies.

Grazing by both cows and rabbits leads to a great diversity of plants. In particular, prostrate herbs such as self-heal, bulbous buttercup and cat's ear thrive in short vegetation, because then they receive enough light to survive. The greatest diversity of plants is found in places where rabbit digging has resulted in bare soil. Therefore, cows ensure that sufficient light reaches the ground, whilst rabbits ensure good germination spots for prostrate herbs.

Finally, Bakker discovered that rabbits are a key factor in determining the extent of shrub cover and whether or not oak seedlings can grow in this. If there are few rabbits, shrub cover can develop in an area grazed by cows and the oak seedlings can root in the shrubs because the shrubs protect the seedlings from the cows. If there are many rabbits, these eat part of the shrub cover and in so doing eliminate the places where oaks can establish.

The vegetation on the Junner Koeland is a mosaic of grassland, shrub cover and oak wood. Such a landscape often contains a large diversity of plants and animals. Management of these natural habitats requires a knowledge of how different grazers affect the ecosystem concerned.

###

The research was funded by the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Netherlands Organization For Scientific Research. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Netherlands Organization For Scientific Research. "Rabbit And Cow Graze Together." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 13 October 2003. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2003/10/031013000748.htm>.
Netherlands Organization For Scientific Research. (2003, October 13). Rabbit And Cow Graze Together. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 1, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2003/10/031013000748.htm
Netherlands Organization For Scientific Research. "Rabbit And Cow Graze Together." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2003/10/031013000748.htm (accessed October 1, 2014).

Share This



More Plants & Animals News

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Earth Has Lost Half Its Vertebrate Wildlife Since 1970: WWF

Earth Has Lost Half Its Vertebrate Wildlife Since 1970: WWF

Newsy (Sep. 30, 2014) — A new study published by the World Wide Fund for Nature found that more than half of the world's wildlife population has declined since 1970. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Dolphins Might Use Earth's Magnetic Field As A GPS

Dolphins Might Use Earth's Magnetic Field As A GPS

Newsy (Sep. 30, 2014) — A study released Monday suggests dolphins might be able to sense the Earth's magnetic field and possibly use it as a means of navigation. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
How To Battle Stink Bug Season

How To Battle Stink Bug Season

Newsy (Sep. 30, 2014) — Homeowners in 33 states grapple with stink bugs moving indoors at this time of year. Here are a few tips to avoid stink bug infestations. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
California University Designs Sustainable Winery

California University Designs Sustainable Winery

Reuters - US Online Video (Sep. 27, 2014) — Amid California's worst drought in decades, scientists at UC Davis design a sustainable winery that includes a water recycling system. Vanessa Johnston reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories

 

Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins