Grazing Polish ponies help forest diversity, researchers find

By | May 24, 2019
ranging Konik horses inwards a nature reserve inwards the Netherlands Grazing Polish ponies assist wood diversity, researchers find
Free-ranging Konik horses inwards a nature reserve. Photo: GerardM, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Free-ranging Konik horses grazing inwards former wood stands inwards northeast Poland increased biodiversity inwards both the the world layer together with shrub layer, according to researchers.

A squad of researchers examined both deciduous together with coniferous wood stands for their study, reported inwards the mag Forests.

The move past times Sergii Boiko together with his colleagues centered on 2 wood complexes, the get-go inwards the fenced expanse of the Popielno Research Station of the Polish Academy of Sciences where free-living Polish primitive horses grazed alongside the 130-year-old stands. The other was an opened upwards 116-year-old managed (harvested) wood expanse inwards Maskulińskie which did non bring horses.

In both areas, the stands are inhabited past times free-living cerise together with roe deer.

The impact of wood animals on ground-cover layers equally good equally on the understory shrub layer together with undergrowth was compared.

“Very pregnant differences inwards the construction of the understory together with undergrowth (above 0.5 meters) layer vegetation communities betwixt both areas together with type of stands were found,” the researchers reported.

“The results propose that the presence of the Polish Equus caballus substantially changed the species composition together with increased the species variety of the the world layer together with shrub layer, both inwards the coniferous wood together with deciduous forest habitats.”

The superlative of the shrub-layer trees was lower past times 30% inwards the expanse with the horses.

The degree of biodiversity of wood plants was theme on the presence of the Polish horse, which inwards the past times was ane of the natural inhabitants of forests inwards the expanse of research, they said.

In general, equids alive virtually of their lives inwards the open, on pastures together with meadows, but may too purpose available tree stands. In the illustration of the Polish primitive horse, they may purpose wood non solely equally a feeding place, but too equally protection against vexing insects or heat.

“The grazing of the Polish primitive horse, similar the Exmoor pony, is increasingly … used equally a natural agency to hold the non-forested status of areas that are non agriculturally used.

“Free-living horses assist to save vast meadow together with pasture or dune areas, contributing to the preservation of semi-natural opened upwards communities, only similar large herbivorous mammals inwards the past.

“Polish primitive horses were used, for instance, non solely to bound the succession of wood species inwards grass areas together with moors, but too to contribute to maintaining their biodiversity.

“Grazing on mid-forest meadows inwards extensive weather condition favors the variety of the undergrowth structure, together with the dispersed dung left past times horses contributes to the herb layer diversification.” This results inwards increasing the issue of flora species, previous studies bring shown.

In conclusion, they said: “The impact of the Polish primitive horses on the studied wood surroundings was mostly positive.

“In similar habitats, it did non touching on the biodiversity of the herbs together with undergrowth below 0.5 meters when compared with the managed forests.

“However, inwards the undergrowth higher than 0.5m together with the understory layer a pregnant termination of the habitat character on species variety was found.

“The presence of the Polish primitive Equus caballus significantly increased the species variety index for the undergrowth higher than 0.5m, together with the understory layer, but the average superlative of these layers was 30% shorter inwards the wood stands with the presence of the horse.”

The amount study squad comprised Boiko, with the Forest Culture Center inwards Gołuchów; together with Ernest Bielinis, Zbigniew Sierota, Anna Zawadzka, Alicja Słupska, Maciej Nasiadko together with Jakub Borkowski, all with the Department of Forestry together with Forest Ecology at the University of Warmia together with Mazury inwards Olsztyn.

Polish Pony Changes Lower Layer Biodiversity inwards Old Growth Scots Pine Stands
Sergii Boiko, Ernest Bielinis, Zbigniew Sierota, Anna Zawadzka, Alicja Słupska, Maciej Nasiadko together with Jakub Borkowski.
Forests 2019, 10(5), 417; https://doi.org/10.3390/f10050417

The study, published nether a Creative Commons License, tin mail away last read here

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