Grazing in the urban environment : An economic and social appraisal of conservation grazing schemes.

HARVEY, Philippa. (2002). Grazing in the urban environment : An economic and social appraisal of conservation grazing schemes. Masters, Sheffield Hallam University (United Kingdom)..

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This study aims to examine the use of grazing livestock to manage urban and urban fringe sites of conservation interest. It considers in particular, the way that organisations achieve grazing and the cost-effectiveness of grazing in comparison with cutting. The latter is a method often advocated as more practical in more urban environments. In addition, the study evaluates the public perception of grazing and the added amenity value that may be associated with the use of livestock.The current perception of grazing in the urban fringe is discussed. In particular, attention is drawn to the potential impact of expected declines in grazing and changes in agricultural land use. The issues facing managing organisations in this environment are examined. Data were gathered from a postal questionnaire sent to 59 organisations across the United Kingdom. Detailed case studies were developed through interviews with representative organisations to illustrate different approaches to grazing in the urban environment. The public reaction towards grazing was assessed through the use of a visitor survey at Keppel's Field Local Nature Reserve, located in the urban fringe of Rotherham. The cost-effectiveness of grazing was analysed through a comparison with the widely used alternative method of management - cutting. In addition the non-marketable benefits were considered.The study concludes that conservation grazing management is possible in the urban fringe countryside. Most organisations relied on an external source of livestock, in particular a local farmer to provide the grazing. Occasionally a specialist breeder, rare breeds centre or grazing project provided the livestock. Other organisations have gone down the route of setting up their own livestock unit to manage their sites and those of other local organisations.The costs and benefits varied considerably depending on the approach taken. Owning stock has major capital and revenue implications for an organisation as well as additional responsibilities of animal welfare. There are the added benefits of having control over the grazing regime, type of stock and possible income generation. Capital costs and welfare responsibilities were avoided by the organisations utilising an external source of livestock.When compared to the estimated costs for cutting the same sites, grazing is likely to be more expensive for organisations owning livestock. Grazing can be less expensive than cutting for organisations using external sources of livestock. Generally grazing became more cost-effective over longer time horizons. Benefits in terms of increased amenity value of the conservation site were reported by most organisations, especially those owning livestock. In particular, the use of livestock perceived as attractive, like Highland cattle, can generate interest in the work of an organization and act as a positive public relations exercise. One of the benefits of managing sites within the urban environment is the close proximity of the people. Great opportunities exist to involve the population in the grazing scheme and to generate interest in conservation management more generally.

Item Type: Thesis (Masters)
Thesis advisor - Rose, John
Thesis advisor - Rotherham, Ian
Thesis advisor - Egan, David
Additional Information: Thesis (M.Phil.)--Sheffield Hallam University (United Kingdom), 2002.
Research Institute, Centre or Group - Does NOT include content added after October 2018: Sheffield Hallam Doctoral Theses
Depositing User: EPrints Services
Date Deposited: 10 Apr 2018 17:20
Last Modified: 26 Apr 2021 14:01

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