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Schoenbaum, I. and Kigel, J.

Sustainable utilization of woodlands by cattle is a serious challenge world-wide. The domination by woody vegetation of poor nutritional quality and the low yield of herbaceous vegetation limit cattle performance. Shortages of rangelands for grazing cattle in Israel necessitate finding an optimal grazing management for the woodlands that, on the one hand, will improve cattle performance and, on the other hand, will create an open-parkland landscape and decrease fire hazards. In this research the behavior and physiology of cattle in woodland habitats was studied. The experiment was conducted in patchy scrub-oak woodland in the Western Galilee, Israel. The area was classified into six vegetation types according to its formation. Spatial distribution, activity and heart rate of the cattle were monitored during winter, spring and summer. Lotek GPS collars with activity sensors and Polar heart rate sensors were deployed on six cows at each period. It was found that vegetation structure and seasonal conditions determined the spatial distribution and activity dynamics of the cattle in this habitat. No seasonal differences were found in the overall time devoted to each activity (rest, graze or walk). However, there were seasonal variations in the diurnal pattern of activity. Although cattle are naturally grazers, they browsed the woody vegetation in the summer when the quality of the herbaceous vegetation was low. Changes in activity over the course of the day were reflected in the heart rate pattern. Daily energy expenditure varied according to reproductive state and the availability and quality of the forage. Therefore it appears that cattle grazing may constitute a sustainable management tool for conservation in Mediterranean oak woodland.

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הספר "אוצר וולקני"
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Cattle physiology and behavior in a Mediterranean oak woodland [abstract]

Schoenbaum, I. and Kigel, J.

Sustainable utilization of woodlands by cattle is a serious challenge world-wide. The domination by woody vegetation of poor nutritional quality and the low yield of herbaceous vegetation limit cattle performance. Shortages of rangelands for grazing cattle in Israel necessitate finding an optimal grazing management for the woodlands that, on the one hand, will improve cattle performance and, on the other hand, will create an open-parkland landscape and decrease fire hazards. In this research the behavior and physiology of cattle in woodland habitats was studied. The experiment was conducted in patchy scrub-oak woodland in the Western Galilee, Israel. The area was classified into six vegetation types according to its formation. Spatial distribution, activity and heart rate of the cattle were monitored during winter, spring and summer. Lotek GPS collars with activity sensors and Polar heart rate sensors were deployed on six cows at each period. It was found that vegetation structure and seasonal conditions determined the spatial distribution and activity dynamics of the cattle in this habitat. No seasonal differences were found in the overall time devoted to each activity (rest, graze or walk). However, there were seasonal variations in the diurnal pattern of activity. Although cattle are naturally grazers, they browsed the woody vegetation in the summer when the quality of the herbaceous vegetation was low. Changes in activity over the course of the day were reflected in the heart rate pattern. Daily energy expenditure varied according to reproductive state and the availability and quality of the forage. Therefore it appears that cattle grazing may constitute a sustainable management tool for conservation in Mediterranean oak woodland.

Scientific Publication
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