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Research article - Peer-reviewed, 2015

Assessing land use by cattle in heterogeneous environments

Sant'Anna, Aline Cristina; da Costa, Mateus José Rodrigues Paranhos; Páscoa, Adriano Gomes; Silva, Lívia Carolina Magalhães; Jung, Jens


The aim of this note is to describe preliminary results on assessment of land use by cattle, obtained in a pilot study using Geographic Information System (GIS). The research was carried out on a semi-natural pasture in Sweden, where the geographic positions of one cow were recorded during 25 consecutive days during summer. The cow, wearing a GPS collar, was integrated in a herd of 53 Hereford cattle. Each location point registered for the animal was considered as a sampling unit (N = 3,097). The spatial distribution of ground declivity, water sources, cattle tracks, and classes of woody vegetation cover (forest, grassland with trees and open grassland) were recorded. The storage, processing and data analysis were carried out using the Idrisi and GS + softwares. Three occupation zones were identified in function of the variation in the space used by the animal, which were occupied in a cyclical pattern; with the animal moving from one zone to another in cycles of five days. It was also clear that the cattle distribution in the area was neither random nor uniform, and it was affected by environmental characteristics that act as conditioners on its distribution. These preliminary results suggest that definition of zones of occupation and the environmental conditioners are promising tools to understand the land use by cattle.


cattle; behavior; Geographic Information System; pasture

Published in

Ciência Rural
2015, Volume: 45, number: 3, pages: 470-473

    UKÄ Subject classification

    Animal and Dairy Science

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