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Matthew E Fagan, Ruth S DeFries, Steven E Sesnie, J Pablo Arroyo-Mora, Robin L Chazdon
Re-establishing connectivity between protected areas isolated by habitat clearing is a key conservation goal in the humid tropics. In northeastern Costa Rica, payments for environmental services (PES) and a government ban on deforestation have subsidized forest protection and reforestation in the San Juan-La Selva Biological Corridor (SJLSBC), resulting in a decline in mature forest loss and the expansion of tree plantations. We use field studies and graph models to assess how conservation efforts have altered functional connectivity over the last 25 years for four species of insectivorous understory birds...
July 2016: Ecological Applications: a Publication of the Ecological Society of America
Vladimir Totev Valkov, Maurizio Chiurazzi
The establishment of legumes crops with phenotypic traits that favour their persistence and competitiveness in mixed swards is a pressing task in sustainable agriculture. However, to fully exploit the potential benefits of introducing pasture-based grass-legume systems, an increased scientific knowledge of legume agronomy for screening of favourable traits is needed. We exploited a short-cut phenotypic screening as a preliminary step to characterize the growth capacity of three different Lotus corniculatus cvs cultivated in different nutritional conditions as well as the evaluation of their nodulation capacities...
October 13, 2016: Plants (Basel, Switzerland)
Fikeremaryam Birara Feleke, Melaku Berhe, Getachew Gebru, Dana Hoag
The livestock sector serves as a foremost source of revenue for rural people, particularly in many developing countries. Among the livestock species, sheep and goats are the main source of livelihood for rural people in Ethiopia; they can quickly multiply, resilient and are easily convertible to cash to meet financial needs of the rural producers. The multiple contributions of sheep and goat and other livestock to rural farmers are however being challenged by climate change and variability. Farmers are responding to the impacts of climate change by adopting different mechanisms, where choices are largely dependent on many factors...
2016: SpringerPlus
Miko U F Kirschbaum, Louis A Schipper, Paul L Mudge, Susanna Rutledge, Nicolas J B Puche, David I Campbell
A possible agricultural climate change mitigation option is to increase the amount of soil organic carbon (SOC). Conversely, some factors might lead to inadvertent losses of SOC. Here, we explore the effect of various management options and environmental changes on SOC storage and milk production of dairy pastures in New Zealand. We used CenW 4.1, a process-based ecophysiological model, to run a range of scenarios to assess the effects of changes in management options, plant properties and environmental factors on SOC and milk production...
October 15, 2016: Science of the Total Environment
H Calvete-Sogo, I González-Fernández, H García-Gómez, R Alonso, S Elvira, J Sanz, V Bermejo-Bermejo
Ozone (O3) critical levels (CLe) are still poorly developed for herbaceous vegetation. They are currently based on single species responses which do not reflect the multi-species nature of semi-natural vegetation communities. Also, the potential effects of other factors like the nitrogen (N) input are not considered in their derivation, making their use uncertain under natural conditions. Exposure- and dose-response relationships were derived from two open-top chamber experiments exposing a mixture of 6 representative annual Mediterranean pasture species growing in natural soil to 4 O3 fumigation levels and 3 N inputs...
October 14, 2016: Environmental Pollution
J S Munday, S C Finch, J B Vlaming, B L Sutherland, L R Fletcher
AIM: To investigate whether Mediterranean tall fescue (Lolium arundinaceum (Schreb.) Darbysh. (syn Festuca arundinacea)) infected with selected fungal endophytes (Epichloë coenophiala (formerly Neotyphodium coenophialum)) caused equine fescue oedema when grown in New Zealand, and to examine the pathological changes associated with this intoxication. METHODS: Horses were grazed on Mediterranean tall fescue that was infected with the endophytes AR542 (n=2), or AR584 (n=3), or Mediterranean tall fescue that was endophyte-free (n=2)...
October 17, 2016: New Zealand Veterinary Journal
Isabelle Dm Gangnat, Pierre-Alain Dufey, Paolo Silacci, Jessika Messadene-Chelali, Michael Kreuzer, Joel Berard
BACKGROUND: Compared to weaned calves, nursed calves benefit from access to milk as nutrient-dense feed and mentoring by their dams. Both may be decisive for growth under difficult conditions such as grazing on alpine pastures, where experience will play an essential role. These factors were investigated separately by comparing nursed calves with calves weaned at 3 months of age and grazing with or without mentor cow (n = 8 calves). RESULTS: Weaned calves with mentor cows spent less time lying and walked more than nursed calves...
October 17, 2016: Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture
Naomi Dailey, Deb Niemeier, Carine Elkhoraibi, C Gabriel Sentíes-Cué, Maurice Pitesky
While pasture-raised poultry comprises a small portion of the commercial poultry industry in North America, these alternative rearing systems have become increasingly popular. As such, it is critical to improve our understanding of husbandry practices and prevalence of zoonotic and epizoonotic diseases in these systems. This research reviews the results of a survey sent to 82 commercial pastured poultry farms in California. While the survey response was low (13.4%), it was enhanced by detailed in-person interviews and farm visits...
October 14, 2016: Poultry Science
A S Hancock, P J Younis, D S Beggs, P D Mansell, M A Stevenson, M F Pyman
In the pasture-based, seasonally calving dairy herds of southern Australia, the mating period usually consists of an initial artificial insemination period followed by a period of natural service using herd bulls. Bull breeding soundness evaluations (BBSE) were performed on 256 bulls from 32 dairy herds in southwest Victoria, using guidelines produced by the Australian Cattle Veterinarians, before and immediately after a single natural mating period. At the same time, herd managers were questioned regarding the management of the bulls...
October 13, 2016: Journal of Dairy Science
A S Hancock, P J Younis, D S Beggs, P D Mansell, M A Stevenson, M F Pyman
In pasture-based, seasonally calving dairy herds of southern Australia, the mating period usually consists of an initial artificial insemination period followed by a period of natural service using herd bulls. The primary objective of this study was to identify associations between individual bull- and herd-level management factors and bull fertility as measured by a pre- and postmating bull breeding soundness evaluation (BBSE). Multivariable mixed effects logistic regression models were used to identify factors associated with bulls being classified as high risk of reduced fertility at the premating and postmating BBSE...
October 13, 2016: Journal of Dairy Science
Jan Šklíba, Tereza Vlasatá, Matěj Lövy, Ema Hrouzková, Yonas Meheretu, Claudio Sillero-Zubiri, Radim Šumbera
Rodents with prevailing subterranean activity usually play an important role in the ecosystems of which they are a part due to the combined effect of herbivory and soil perturbation. This is also the case of the giant root-rat Tachyoryctes macrocephalus, Rüppell 1842, endemic to the Afroalpine ecosystem of the Bale Mountains, Ethiopia. We studied the impact of root-rats on various ecosystem features within a 3.5ha study locality dominated by Alchemilla pasture, which represents an optimal habitat for this species, in two periods of a year...
October 13, 2016: Integrative Zoology
Paul C Schröder, Sabina Illi, Vera I Casaca, Anna Lluis, Andreas Böck, Caroline Roduit, Martin Depner, Remo Frei, Jon Genuneit, Petra Ina Pfefferle, Marjut Roponen, Juliane Weber, Charlotte Braun-Fahrländer, Josef Riedler, Jean-Charles Dalphin, Juha Pekkanen, Roger Lauener, Erika von Mutius, Bianca Schaub, Anne Hyvärinen, Anne M Karvonen, Maija-Riitta Hirvonen, Pekka Tiittanen, Sami Remes, Vincent Kaulek, Marie-Laure Dalphin, Markus J Ege, Georg J Loss, Harald Renz, Gert Doekes, Michael Kabesch
BACKGROUND: Farm exposure protects against development of allergies early in life. At 4.5 years, protection against asthma by farm-milk exposure was partially mediated by regulatory T-cells (Tregs). The aim of this study was to investigate the critical time window of the "asthma-protective" farm effect via Tregs during childhood immune maturation. METHODS: Tregs were assessed longitudinally at 4.5 and 6 years in 111 children (56 farm, 55 reference children) from the PASTURE/EFRAIM birth cohort (flow-cytometry)...
October 12, 2016: Allergy
Veronika Braunisch, Patrick Patthey, Raphaël Arlettaz
In many cultural landscapes, the abandonment of traditional grazing leads to encroachment of pastures by woody plants, which reduces habitat heterogeneity and impacts biodiversity typical of semi-open habitats. We developed a framework of mutually interacting spatial models to locate areas where shrub encroachment in Alpine treeline ecosystems deteriorates vulnerable species' habitat, using black grouse Tetrao tetrix (L.) in the Swiss Alps as a study model. Combining field observations and remote-sensing information we 1) identified and located the six predominant treeline vegetation types; 2) modelled current black grouse breeding habitat as a function thereof so as to derive optimal habitat profiles; 3) simulated from these profiles the theoretical spatial extension of breeding habitat when assuming optimal vegetation conditions throughout; and used the discrepancy between (2) and (3) to 4) locate major aggregations of homogeneous shrub vegetation in otherwise suitable breeding habitat as priority sites for habitat restoration...
2016: PloS One
Laura Delgado-Balbuena, Juan M Bello-López, Yendi E Navarro-Noya, Analine Rodríguez-Valentín, Marco L Luna-Guido, Luc Dendooven
Mixing soil or adding earthworms (Eisenia fetida (Savigny, 1826)) accelerated the removal of anthracene, a polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon, from a pasture and an arable soil, while a non-ionic surfactant (Surfynol® 485) inhibited the removal of the contaminant compared to the untreated soil. It was unclear if the treatments affected the soil bacterial community and consequently the removal of anthracene. Therefore, the bacterial community structure was monitored by means of 454 pyrosequencing of the 16S rRNA gene in the pasture and arable soil mixed weekly, amended with Surfynol® 485, E...
2016: PloS One
Joshua S Caplan, Daniel Giménez, Vandana Subroy, Richard J Heck, Stephen A Prior, G Brett Runion, H Allen Torbert
Soil pore structure has a strong influence on water retention, and is itself influenced by plant and microbial dynamics such as root proliferation and microbial exudation. Although increased nitrogen (N) availability and elevated atmospheric CO2 concentrations (eCO2 ) often have interacting effects on root and microbial dynamics, it is unclear whether these biotic effects can translate into altered soil pore structure and water retention. This study was based on a long-term experiment (7 yr at the time of sampling) in which a C4 pasture grass (Paspalum notatum) was grown on a sandy loam soil while provided factorial additions of N and CO2 ...
October 11, 2016: Global Change Biology
O K Koech, R N Kinuthia, G N Karuku, S M Mureithi, R Wanjogu
BACKGROUND: Production of range grasses under irrigation has been widely adopted in the arid environments of Kenya as a strategy for seasonal forage supply gap. However, their productivity has only been done under conventional methods without an evaluation of their performance at varied soil moisture conditions. This information is needed for making sustainable management of irrigation water and also increased pasture productivity at the current intensification of the production systems...
2016: SpringerPlus
Tom F O'Callaghan, Deirdre Hennessy, Stephen McAuliffe, Kieran N Kilcawley, Michael O'Donovan, Pat Dillon, R Paul Ross, Catherine Stanton
The aim of this study was to investigate the effects of different feeding systems on milk quality and composition. Fifty-four multiparous and primiparous Friesian lactating cows were divided into 3 groups (n = 18) to study the effects of 3 feeding systems over a full lactation. Group 1 was housed indoors and offered a total mixed ration diet (TMR), group 2 was maintained outdoors on a perennial ryegrass pasture (referred to as grass), and group 3 was also grazed outdoors on a perennial ryegrass/white clover pasture (referred to as clover)...
October 5, 2016: Journal of Dairy Science
Ennet Moholisa, Arno Hugo, Phillip E Strydom, Ina van Heerden
BACKGROUND: Animal age as determined by number of permanent incisors (p.i) is used in classification of beef carcasses to describe expected meat tenderness. However, animals differing in age are reared under different production systems (pasture or feedlot). In addition to age, other factors associated with particular production systems may also influence the palatability of meat. Therefore, the effects of age combined with feeding regime and the supplementation of a beta-agonist (zilpaterol) on the tenderness of M...
September 22, 2016: Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture
H S F S Azêvedo, A C B Sousa, K Martins, J C Oliveira, R B T Yomura, L M Silva, J F M Valls, G M L Assis, T Campos
Arachis pintoi and A. repens are legumes with a high forage value that are used to feed ruminants in consortium systems. Not only do they increase the persistence and quality of pastures, they are also used for ornamental and green cover. The objective of this study was to analyze microsatellite markers in order to access the genetic diversity of 65 forage peanut germplasm accessions in the section Caulorrhizae of the genus Arachis in the Jequitinhonha, São Francisco and Paranã River valleys of Brazil. Fifty-seven accessions of A...
September 9, 2016: Genetics and Molecular Research: GMR
Anna Oldén, Atte Komonen, Kaisa Tervonen, Panu Halme
Wood-pastures are threatened biotopes in which trees and livestock grazing maintain high conservation values. However, browsing may threaten tree regeneration, whereas abandonment leads to tree encroachment. We studied the regeneration of trees in a grazed and abandoned boreal wood-pastures. In grazed sites, the density of young spruces (Picea abies) was high, while the density of young birches (Betula spp.) was very low. Sprucification can be prevented only by removing spruces. The number of young birches and pines (Pinus sylvestris) was correlated with the number of junipers (Juniperus communis), probably because thorny junipers protect palatable seedlings from browsing...
October 4, 2016: Ambio
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