Grazing management concepts

Extensive grazing, alongside mowing, cutting of shrubs and trees, establishment of important target species, and restoration of habitats, is another way to ensure biodiversity levels in our cultivated landscape.

But grazing by sheep, goats, horses, cattle and donkeys as practiced in the Neolithic age was not the first occasion on which our ecosystem would be altered. The big herbivores like wisent, aurochs and wild horses had been roaming the lands creating a mosaic of open or semi-open landscapes.

Many animals and plant species are highly dependent on grazing animals and their impacts like the stamping of hooves and wallowing creating open spaces or the animals‘ excrements. Therefore, grazers are a key factor in our ecosystems. Nature conservation uses a wide variety of extensive grazing concepts (e.g. Riecken 2004, Bunzel-Drüke et al. 2015, Török et al. 2016):

  • Large-scale near-natural pasture landscapes focusing on development of nature («New wilderness»)
    This concept focuses on the facilitation of natural processes. No specific management targets are set and there are no expectations to how the outcome should look like. Usually, wild forms or re-bred forms of extinct animals (aurochs, wild horse) are used.