Grazing livestock move by Levy walks - Implications for soil health and environment

A - Papers appearing in refereed journals

Romero-Ruiz, A., Rivero, M. J., Milne, A. E., Morgan, S., De-Meo-Filho, P., Pulley, S., Segura, C., Harris, P., Lee, M. R. F., Coleman, K., Cardenas, L. M. and Whitmore, A. P. 2023. Grazing livestock move by Levy walks - Implications for soil health and environment. Journal of Environmental Management. 345 (1), p. 118835. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jenvman.2023.118835

AuthorsRomero-Ruiz, A., Rivero, M. J., Milne, A. E., Morgan, S., De-Meo-Filho, P., Pulley, S., Segura, C., Harris, P., Lee, M. R. F., Coleman, K., Cardenas, L. M. and Whitmore, A. P.
Abstract

Grazing livestock plays an important role in the context of food security, agricultural sustainability and climate change. Understanding how livestock move and interact with their environment may offer new insights on how grazing practices impact soil and ecosystem functions at spatial and temporal scales where knowledge is currently limited. We characterized daily and seasonal grazing patterns using Global Positioning System (GPS) data from two grazing strategies: conventionally- and rotationally-grazed pastures. Livestock movement was consistent with the so-called Lévy walks, and could thus be simulated with Lévy-walk based probability density functions. Our newly introduced "Moovement model” links grazing patterns with soil structure and related functions by coupling animal movement and soil structure dynamics models, allowing to predict spatially-explicit changes in key soil properties. Predicted post-grazing management-specific bulk densities were consistent with field measurements and confirmed that rotational grazing produced similar disturbance as conventional grazing despite hosting higher stock densities. Harnessing information on livestock movement and its impacts in soil structure within a modelling framework can help testing and optimizing grazing strategies for ameliorating their impact on soil health and environment.

KeywordsLevy walk; Soil structure; Soil compaction; TechnoGrazing; Cell grazing
Year of Publication2023
JournalJournal of Environmental Management
Journal citation345 (1), p. 118835
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jenvman.2023.118835
Web address (URL)https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0301479723016237?via%3Dihub
Open accessPublished as ‘gold’ (paid) open access
FunderBiotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council
European Union
Natural Environment Research Council
Funder project or codeS2N - Soil to Nutrition - Work package 3 (WP3) - Sustainable intensification - optimisation at multiple scales
S2N - Soil to Nutrition - Work package 2 (WP2) - Adaptive management systems for improved efficiency and nutritional quality
Agri-tech Cornwall
Growing Health [ISP]
AgZero+
Growing Health (WP2) - bio-inspired solutions for healthier agroecosystems: Understanding soil environments
Growing Health (WP3) - bio-inspired solutions for healthier agroecosystems: Discovery landscapes
Publisher's version
Supplemental file
Output statusPublished
Publication dates
Online31 Aug 2023
Publication process dates
Accepted14 Aug 2023
PublisherAcademic Press Ltd- Elsevier Science Ltd
ISSN0301-4797

Permalink - https://repository.rothamsted.ac.uk/item/98xy4/grazing-livestock-move-by-levy-walks-implications-for-soil-health-and-environment

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