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Parries J.-M.V.,Albert Ludwigs University of Freiburg | Herr J.,Administration de la Nature et des Forets | Moes M.,GeoData | Moes G.,natur and emwelt | Schaich H.,Albert Ludwigs University of Freiburg
Naturschutz und Landschaftsplanung | Year: 2014

Low-intensity year-round grazing systems are used to maintain openness and to develop biodiversity of wet grasslands in restored floodplains. However, research into grazing patterns of cattle in such floodplain ecosystems has been still rare. In the present study, habitat use of Galloway cattle was analysed via GPS telemetry over a one-year period in a low-intensity yearround pasture in the restored floodplain of the river Alzette (Luxembourg). The cattle used the various habitats very selectively. Habitat types of the mesophilic grasslands with high nutritional values and solid grounds were favoured for grazing and resting. Nevertheless, typical floodplain habitat types were used on a lower but also regular basis with a slight increase in autumn and winter. This seems to suffice for the preservation of the open character of the floodplain. Shade producing trees and shrubs strongly influence habitat use patterns as they are increasingly visited when temperatures rise. The river and adjacent riparian zones are avoided. Consequently, the excretions of the cattle should not negatively influence the water quality of the river. The cattle's selective habitat use can help to increase structural and species diversity in restored floodplain ecosystems. Source

Wagner I.,Research Institute Pro Arbore | Maurer W.D.,Research Institute for Forest Ecology and Forestry of Rhineland Palatinate | Lemmen P.,Research Institute for Forest Ecology and Forestry of Rhineland Palatinate | Schmitt H.P.,NRW.BANK | And 3 more authors.
Silvae Genetica | Year: 2014

Malus sylvestris is the only apple species native to Central Europe. Its genetic integrity may be threatened by hybridization with the cultivated apple (Malus X domestica). A total of 883 genotypes, 477 putative wild apples in Germany and Luxembourg and 406 old to modern cultivars has been investigated. Wild apples growing in Germany originated from Rhineland-Palatinate, North Rhine-Westphalia, Saxony-Anhalt and Saxony. The genetic structure was analysed at ten isozyme marker loci, and morphology was studied by fruit size, leaf pubescence, and a complex morphological description performed in advance. A model-based cluster analysis applied to all nuclear data resulted in two clearly differentiated gene pools for putative wild and cultivated apples with moderate proportions of admixture in the wild group on average (0.138 total, 0.111 German sample). At the individual level, the percentages of both hybrids and feral cultivars together ranged from 2.3% in Rhineland-Palatinate to 28.8% in Luxembourg. The intraspecific variability in fruit diameter ranged from 21 to 40 mm, and that in leaf pubescence in autumn ranged from score 0 to score 1. No single morphological trait of a specimen appeared to be sufficient for identification. Even the correspondence between the complex morphological and complex genetic determinations for individuals did not exceed 93% in pure wilds and 64% in hybrids. Genetic variation in pure wild apple is high (species level: P = 90%, A/L = 3.1, He = 0.369). Allelic differentiation 8 was 0.089, pairwise genetic distance (d0) ranged from 0.065 to 0.148 among five samples. Correspondence between genetic and geographic distance of populations was observed to a certain extent. Source

Massei G.,Animal and Plant Health Agency | Kindberg J.,Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences | Licoppe A.,Laboratoire Of La Faune Sauvage Et Of Cynegetique | Gacic D.,University of Belgrade | And 13 more authors.
Pest Management Science | Year: 2015

Across Europe, wild boar numbers increased in the 1960s-1970s but stabilised in the 1980s; recent evidence suggests that the numbers and impact of wild boar has grown steadily since the 1980s. As hunting is the main cause of mortality for this species, we reviewed wild boar hunting bags and hunter population trends in 18 European countries from 1982 to 2012. Hunting statistics and numbers of hunters were used as indicators of animal numbers and hunting pressure. The results confirmed that wild boar increased consistently throughout Europe, while the number of hunters remained relatively stable or declined in most countries. We conclude that recreational hunting is insufficient to limit wild boar population growth and that the relative impact of hunting on wild boar mortality had decreased. Other factors, such as mild winters, reforestation, intensification of crop production, supplementary feeding and compensatory population responses of wild boar to hunting pressure might also explain population growth. As populations continue to grow, more human-wild boar conflicts are expected unless this trend is reversed. New interdisciplinary approaches are urgently required to mitigate human-wild boar conflicts, which are otherwise destined to grow further. © 2014 Crown copyright. Source

Dewas M.,ONCFS | Herr J.,Administration de la Nature et des Forets | Schley L.,Administration de la Nature et des Forets | Angst C.,Center Suisse Of Cartographie Of La Faune Cscf | And 3 more authors.
Mammal Review | Year: 2012

1 The Eurasian beaver Castor fiber suffered a drastic reduction in both geographical range and population size, due to human persecution, until the end of the 19th century. After the adoption of protection measures, natural expansion and reintroductions led to the recovery of this species over much of its European range. 2 We review historical events that led to the recovery of beavers in France, and summarize the status of beavers in various river systems. Beaver establishment in France is a story of overall success: several major river systems are presently occupied, so that the species is no longer at risk in France. 3 However, beaver recolonization took place in parallel with increasing human impacts on the environment. In addition to natural limiting factors, anthropogenic factors impeded beaver settlement in many areas. Today, beavers often occupy suboptimal habitats and, as a consequence, come into conflict with human activities. Effective solutions for preventing beaver damage include the restoration of riparian habitats to discourage crop damage and the provision of physical barriers to protect crops. 4 Beaver populations reintroduced into France all originate from the relict Rhône population. However, in recent years, beavers from populations in neighbouring countries have been expanding into north-eastern France. Therefore, our review of beaver origin and distribution in these countries may contribute to the development of appropriate national management strategies and towards important decisions, e.g. the decision to try to keep Rhône beavers genetically isolated, or to allow populations to mix. 5 The recently discovered presence of North American beavers Castor canadensis in three countries surrounding France has raised an important issue. This species may out-compete C. fiber in places where the species come into contact. A programme based on field-trapping sessions and genetic analyses has recently been initiated in some western countries in order to eradicate this non-native species. © 2011 The Author. Mammal Review © 2011 Mammal Society/Blackwell Publishing. Source

Frantz A.C.,University of Luxembourg | McDevitt A.D.,University College Dublin | Pope L.C.,University of Queensland | Kochan J.,Wroclaw University of Environmental and Life Sciences | And 25 more authors.
Heredity | Year: 2014

Although the phylogeography of European mammals has been extensively investigated since the 1990s, many studies were limited in terms of sampling distribution, the number of molecular markers used and the analytical techniques employed, frequently leading to incomplete postglacial recolonisation scenarios. The broad-scale genetic structure of the European badger (Meles meles) is of interest as it may result from historic restriction to glacial refugia and/or recent anthropogenic impact. However, previous studies were based mostly on samples from western Europe, making it difficult to draw robust conclusions about the location of refugia, patterns of postglacial expansion and recent demography. In the present study, continent-wide sampling and analyses with multiple markers provided evidence for two glacial refugia (Iberia and southeast Europe) that contributed to the genetic variation observed in badgers in Europe today. Approximate Bayesian computation provided support for a colonisation of Scandinavia from both Iberian and southeastern refugia. In the whole of Europe, we observed a decline in genetic diversity with increasing latitude, suggesting that the reduced diversity in the peripheral populations resulted from a postglacial expansion processes. Although MSVAR v.1.3 also provided evidence for recent genetic bottlenecks in some of these peripheral populations, the simulations performed to estimate the method's power to correctly infer the past demography of our empirical populations suggested that the timing and severity of bottlenecks could not be established with certainty. We urge caution against trying to relate demographic declines inferred using MSVAR with particular historic or climatological events.Heredity advance online publication, 30 April 2014; doi:10.1038/hdy.2014.45. Source

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