Horses and rangelands : Mutual contributions and perspectives

  • Jouven M
  • Launay F
  • Vial C
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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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  • M Jouven

  • F Launay

  • C Vial

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