Impact of grazing on soil biota in a Mediterranean grassland

Q. Li, E. Mayzlish, I. Shamir, S. Pen-Mouratov, M. Sternberg, Y. Steinberger

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Scopus citations


The effect of cattle grazing on the soil nematode and protozoan communities, and on microbial biomass, was measured in Israel's northern highlands. Three grazing areas were compared: (1) with 1·1 cow ha-1 y-1; (2) 0·55 cow ha-1 y-1; and (3) control - no grazing for almost 18 years. Soil samples were collected from the upper 10 cm level of each area (n = 24), in autumn, before the onset of the rainy season, in order to analyse soil moisture, organic matter, total nitrogen, microbial biomass, soil respiration, soil free-living nematodes, as well as ciliate and flagellate populations. Soil microbial biomass and soil free-living nematodes showed no clear differences in impact between heavy and moderate grazing. However, ciliates and flagellates showed a significant response to different grazing pressures.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)581-592
Number of pages12
JournalLand Degradation and Development
Issue number6
StatePublished - Nov 2005


  • Grazing
  • Israel
  • Microbial biomass
  • Nematodes
  • Protozoa
  • Soil


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