Livestock grazing intensity affects abundance of Common shrews (**Sorex araneus**) in two meadows in DenmarkLivestock grazing intensity affects abundance of Common shrews (**Sorex araneus**) in two meadows in Denmark
Faculty of Sciences. Biology
Evolutionary ecology group (EVECO)
BMC ecology. - London
9(2009):2, p. 1-6
University of Antwerp
Background Current nature conservation in semi-natural grasslands often includes grazing and hay cutting, as well as the abandonment of draining. Semi-natural grassland and in particular meadows constitute important habitat type for a large number of animal species in today's fragmented and intensively cultivated landscape of Europe. Here we focus on the population characteristics of Common shrews Sorex araneus in relation to livestock grazing intensity in two wet meadows in western Denmark. Results High grazing intensity had a significant negative effect on Common shrew number compared to low grazing intensity and no grazing. Common shrew abundance was generally, but not significantly, higher on the low grazing intensity plots than on the ungrazed controls. No differences in body mass, sex ratio, or reproductive output between Common shrew individuals from the various grazing treatments were found. Conclusion No negative effects of low intensity grazing on Common shrew abundance were found compared to the ungrazed control. Low intensity grazing thus seems a suitable management regime for Common shrews, when grazing is needed as part of the meadow management scheme. High intensity grazing on the other hand is not a suitable management tool.