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Grazing and its impact on productivity and biodiversity in heathlands

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Chapter Summary

In the past, European heathlands functioned as part of the local, regional and wider European economy and as part of extensive grazing systems that have either disappeared or are under pressure in the present day. Heathland farmers responded to market signals and were affected by wider economic ideas and technological innovation such as refrigeration. The role of livestock, its impact on heath vegetation, the way in which heath livestock systems operated within the wider European society and its ideals is not necessarily at the forefront of the minds of those EU citizens who enjoy the beauty, nature and amenity of these landscapes. However, an understanding of the forces that shaped the heathlands is important for devising effective policies and management strategies in the future. Contemporary livestock management in the remaining heathland areas of Europe requires both the biological and the physical infrastructure to be in place.

Keywords: European heathlands; grazing systems; heath vegetation imapct; livestock management



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