Spatio-temporal analysis of sheep and goats in different forage resources of northeren Greece

Authors

  • Christakis Evangelou Department of Range Science, Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, 54124 Thessaloniki, Greece
  • Maria Yiakoulaki Department of Range Science, Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, 54124 Thessaloniki, Greece
  • Vasilios Papanastasis Department of Range Science, Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, 54124 Thessaloniki, Greece

Keywords:

Flocks, GIS, GPS, grazing activities, rangelands, small ruminants

Abstract

Grazing animals explore different forage resources to satisfy their daily nutrient needs, following specific spatial and temporal patterns throughout the year. In this study four different flocks of sheep and goats (two of each species) were selected to record their spatial location with a handheld GPS during spring, summer and winter. At the same time, three animals in each flock were followed to study their grazing activities by direct observation. These data with the time information and a detailed land use map were manipulated in a GIS to assign animal activities to different forage resources. Sheep and goats were travelling long distances (7.5 km and 9.0 km, respectively) to satisfy their nutritional needs throughout the year. They were found to graze in two main forage resources, rangelands (grasslands, shrublands and forest ranges) and agricultural land (fallow land, stubble fields and temporary pastures). Both grazer species spent significantly less time (P≤ 0.05) feeding in rangelands (38.9% & 18.1%) than in agricultural land (63.6% & 53.4%) during spring and summer. It appears that a heterogeneous landscape is necessary for supporting extensive farming systems of small ruminants since rangelands and agricultural land complement each other in providing forage throughout the year.

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Published

2015-08-27

How to Cite

Evangelou, C., Yiakoulaki, M. and Papanastasis, V. (2015) “Spatio-temporal analysis of sheep and goats in different forage resources of northeren Greece”, Hacquetia, 13(1). Available at: https://ojs.zrc-sazu.si/hacquetia/article/view/2849 (Accessed: 6 July 2022).

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