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Balseiro A.,Servicio Regional de Investigacion | Royo L.J.,Servicio Regional de Investigacion | Martinez C.P.,University of Leon | de Mera I.G.F.,Institute Investigacion en Recursos Cinegeticos | And 5 more authors.
Emerging Infectious Diseases | Year: 2012

Although louping ill affects mainly sheep, a 2011 outbreak in northern Spain occurred among goats. Histopathologic lesions and molecular genetics identifi ed a new strain of louping ill virus, 94% identical to the strain from Britain. Surveillance is needed to minimize risk to domestic and wildlife species and humans. Source


Osoro K.,Servicio Regional de Investigacion | Ferreira L.M.M.,University of Tras os Montes e Alto Douro | Garcia U.,Servicio Regional de Investigacion | Rosa Garcia R.,Servicio Regional de Investigacion | Celaya R.,Servicio Regional de Investigacion
EAAP Scientific Series | Year: 2012

Domestic herbivores are important for an efficient utilization of marginal areas dominated by heathland vegetation from both productive and environmental points of view. In this paper we review some information on grazing behaviour and feed intake, animal performance and grazing effects on biodiversity resulting from a SERIDA research farm, focusing on horses compared with ruminants. Horses, like cattle and sheep, prefer to feed on quality herbaceous vegetation, whereas goats combine herbs and scrub throughout the grazing season, being the most complementary species with the other herbivores. Thus, equines compete with cattle and sheep for the same preferred plant resources. Mares show better body weight (BW) changes than cows in heathlands, although calves achieve higher gains than foals. Equines show better productive responses in gorse (Ulex spp.) dominated than in heather (Ericaceae) dominated heathlands. In partially improved heathlands (with 25% of sown pasture), the productive efficiency of equines is lower than that of sheep (lower BW gains per livestock unit of foals compared to lambs), similar to that of goats, and higher than that of cattle (lower BW losses of mares compared to cows at the end of the grazing season), due to their ability to utilize short swards, as well as gorse-dominated shrublands, and to their lower body size. When good quality plant resources (e.g. native grasslands or improved pastures) are available, equines should be managed as complementary to the other domestic herbivores. Equines may be an efficient tool to remove senescent matter and reduce unpalatable species such as gorse, thus contributing to the enhancement of better quality herbaceous vegetation, to the reduction of fire risk, and to biodiversity conservation. Source


Rosa Garcia R.,Servicio Regional de Investigacion | Garcia U.,Servicio Regional de Investigacion | Osoro K.,Servicio Regional de Investigacion | Celaya R.,Servicio Regional de Investigacion
European Journal of Entomology | Year: 2011

The creation of improved areas is one way of increasing the productivity of livestock on Cantabrian heathland (NW Spain), a habitat that is frequently located in less favourable mountainous areas where the development of sustainable husbandry is limited. The effect of this on the biodiversity of heathland is unclear and likely to depend on several factors, such as the grazing regime. In order to clarify this situation, the effects of type of vegetation, species of grazer and grazing regime on the composition of the ground-dwelling arthropod fauna of partially improved heathland were determined. The effects of grazing by cattle or sheep and two grazing regimes (cattle or sheep, or both of them together with goats) were studied in eight plots (two replicates per treatment). Each plot included two types of vegetation, gorse (Ulex gallii)-dominated shrubland and improved grassland (Lolium perenne-Trifolium repens). Arthropods were surveyed using pitfall traps. Overall, the composition of the arthropod fauna did not differ between plots grazed by different species of grazer or using different grazing regimes but was significantly associated with the type of vegetation. Most of the opilionids and several carabids clearly preferred shrubland, while lycosids and various carabids were mainly associated with grassland. While the species of grazer affected the faunal composition of grassland, grazing regime was more important in shrubland. Arthropod responses to the grazing treatments were determined by the grazing behaviour of the large herbivores and the habitat requirements of each arthropod taxon. The great structural heterogeneity of the vegetation and the more micro-habitats in shrubland grazed by mixed flocks was mainly a result of the goats preferring to browse on the woody vegetation in these areas. The grazing by either sheep or cattle had less of an affect on the fauna of shrubland than grassland. Source

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