Horses and rangelands : Mutual contributions and perspectives

  • Jouven M
  • Launay F
  • Vial C
  • 2

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Abstract

Horses are increasingly present in pastoral areas but little is known about their potential contribution to rangeland utilization. In order to investigate this question in the context of Southern France, a specific re - search project was undertaken, with: (i) a farm-scale analysis to determine the importance of rangelands for horse feeding in agro-pastoral farming systems; and (ii) a territorial analysis to identify the role and importance of horses for pastoral areas, based on inventories, spatial analysis with GIS and interviews with local stake- holders. Among the “professional“ horse farms we studied, only a few feeding systems relied mainly on range- lands. On the other farms, rangeland utilization was limited due to the lack of land, equipment or pastoral knowl- edge. On a territorial scale, horses were rarely accepted as proper rangeland users and access of horse own- ers to land depended on the evolution of local ruminant farms. For a number of stakeholders, horses can help reducing land abandonment and show interesting complementarities with ruminants. Further research is need- ed on the interest of associating horses with ruminants for rangeland utilization on farm and landscape scales.

Author-supplied keywords

  • Equidae
  • Feeding systems
  • Pastoralism
  • Territories

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Authors

  • M Jouven

  • F Launay

  • C Vial

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