Springer Online Journal Archives 1860-2000
Nature of Science, Research, Systems of Higher Education, Museum Science
Abstract Traditional hay-meadows in the Alps and fens at the edge of the Alps are habitats for many rare and endangered butterfly species. Conservation efforts aim at preserving these species, but the biotopes depend on regular mowing, which in turn requires intensive financial support. The feasibility of substituting mowing of these sites by grazing is discussed and considered as a more cost effective management type which produces agriculturally valuable goods as well. In this study the butterfly fauna of mown and grazed sites were compared. Species composition, species number, and the occurrence of rare species under the two management types were in most cases rather similar for both grassland ecosystems. Nevertheless, there are hints that for single rare species this might not be true. Additionally, at one site, grazing intensity on a former hay-meadow was too high to preserve the species-rich community. Overall the results are encouraging: grazing does not have to be as detrimental as formerly thought, although details (compartments of pastures, intensity) still have to be confirmed. Experimental grazing management of aban-doned grasslands of the studied types should be started.
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