Current issue: 56(2)
Finland has a long tradition of grazing cattle in the forests and common land. There are also reports of degradation of forests by grazing already in 1600th century. The aim of the survey was to study which positive and negative effects grazing has in forests.
The study concludes that grazing has caused considerable economic losses through damages to forests. In addition, woodland pastures cannot give the yields required in modern animal husbandry. The quality of woodland pastures have decreased after the woodlands used in slash and burn culture have become wooded.
Grazing has also some positive effects to forests. It increases the diversity of vegetation in the woodland pastures and spreads species to new areas. This is supported by the lists of species found in different woodland pastures. Cattle destroy large grasses like Calamagrostis, which may avail growth of tree seedlings in the pastures. Grazing can also prepare the site for tree seedlings. On the other hand, prolonged grazing destroys tree seedlings and prevents regeneration.
The article includes a German summary.