Livestock biodiversity: coming of age?
In October 1994, British Wildlife published an article entitled ‘Conservation and Rare Breeds of Farm Livestock’ which summarised the origins of British livestock breeds and the subsequent decline and extinction of some of them. It also reported the increasing use of farm livestock as a means of managing valued habitats, primarily through grazing, but also in other ways such as snigging (horse-logging) (Small 1994). Twenty-one years on from the 1994 article it seems timely to review developments.
In 1997, a conference entitled ‘The use of rare breeds in management for conservation’ was held at Liverpool John Moores University, and the fact that it attracted 60 delegates indicated that there was a growing interest in conservation grazing. The papers presented at the conference were published in a special issue (volume 5, no. 4) of Enact, the forerunner of Conservation Land Management