Sheep and Horse Grazing in a Large-Scale Protection Area and its Positive Impact on Chemical and Biological Soil Properties

Barbara Futa, Krzysztof Patkowski, Elżbieta J. Bielińska, Tomasz M. Gruszecki, Michał Pluta, Mariusz Kulik, Szymon Chmielewski


This paper looks into the impact of free grazing by sheep and horses on the chemical and biological properties of soils in the partial protection zone of the Roztocze National Park. The study sampled three different types of pastureland in the area: pastures for sheep, horses and for combined grazing by sheep and horses. Compared to an ungrazed reference pasture, free grazing significantly stimulated the activity of enzymes which catalyze the transformation of organic matter (dehydrogenases, phosphatases and ureases) and it also positively influenced other chemical properties of the soils. Among the soils under free-grazing management, the pasture grazed to horses underwent the most advantageous changes in terms of the eco-chemical status of the soil.


free grazing, large-space protected area, soil, chemical properties, enzymatic activity

Full Text:



Abrahams, P.W., Steigmajer, J., 2003. Soil Ingestion by Sheep Grazing in the Metal Enriched Floodplain Soils of Mid Wales. Environmental Geochemistry and Health, 25: 17–26.

Acosta-Martinez, V., Tabatabai, M.A., 2000. Enzyme activities in a limed agricultural soil. Biology and Fertility of Soils, 3,11: 85–91.

Ajorlo, M., Abdullah, R.B., Hanif, A.H.M., Halim, R.A., Yusoff, M.K., 2010. How cattle grazing influences heavy metal concentrations in tropical pasture soils. Polish Journal of Environmental Studies, 19, 5: 895–902.

Aon, M.A., Colaneri, A.C., 2001. Temporal and spatial evolution of enzymatic activities and physical-chemical properties in an agricultural soil. Applied Soil Ecology, 18: 255–270.

Baran, S., Oleszczuk, P., Lesiuk, A., Baranowska, E., 2002. Trace metals and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons in the surface sediment samples from the river Narew (Poland). Polish Journal of Environmental Studies, 11: 299–305.

Bielińska, E.J., 2006. The impact of long-term emissions of nitrogen on the enzymatic activity of forest soils (in Polish). Roczniki Gleboznawcze, 57, 1/2: 32–40.

Bielińska, E.J., Gruszecki, T., 2010. The impact of secondary plant succession on the enzymatic activity of soils selected habitats Natura 2000 (in Polish). Roczniki Gleboznawcze, 61, 4: 16–24.

Bielińska, E.J., Gruszecki, T., 2011. The impact of extensive grazing of sheep on the enzymatic activity of soils selected habitats Natura 2000 (in Polish). – Zeszyty Problemowe Postępów Nauk Rolniczych, 567: 11–19.

Bielińska, E.J., Mocek-Płóciniak, A., 2015. Biochemical and chemical Indices of Soil Transformations on Goose Farms in Years 1996-2011. Archives of Environmental Protection, 41, 1: 84–89.

Bielińska, E.J., Mocek-Płóciniak, A., Kaczmarek, Z., 2008. Indices of the eco-chemical condition of forest soils on a large-area forest fire. Polish Journal of Environmental Studies, 17,5: 665–671.

Bielińska, E.J., Futa, B., Mocek-Płóciniak, A., 2014. Soils enzymes as bio-indicators of soil health and quality (in Polish). Towarzystwo Wydawnictw Naukowych “LIBROPOLIS”, Lublin.

Chmielewski, T.J. ed., 2006. Management of natural resources in Natura 2000 sites in Poland (in Polish). Wydawnictwo AR w Lublinie, Lublin.

Chmielewski, T. J., Sowińska-Świerkosz, B., Kułak, A., Chmielewski, Sz., 2014. Landscapes of Roztocze: the heritage of nature and culture (in Polish). Monografia naukowa. Uniwersytet Przyrodniczy w Lublinie, Lublin.

De Boer, W., Klein Gunnewiek, P.J.A., Troelstra, S.R., 1990. Nitrification in Dutch Heath Soils, II Characteristics of Nitrate Production. Plant Soil, 127: 193–201.

Domżał, H., Bielińska, E.J. ed., 2007. The assessment of soil environment transformation and the stability of forest ecosystems in the impact area of the „Puławy” S.A. Nitrogen Plant (in Polish). Acta Agrophysica 145.

Council Directive 92/43 EEC of 21 May 1992. On the conservation of natural habitats and of wild fauna and flora. Ministerstwo Środowiska, Warszawa, 56–101.

ELC, 2000. European Landscape Convention. European Council, Florence.

Europe`s environment – The fourth assessment, 2007. European Environment Agency, OPOCE; (access date: 2016.03.14)

Gaines, T.P., Gaines, S.T., 1994. Soil texture effect on nitrate leaching in soil percolates. Communications in Soil Science and Plant Analysis, 25, 13-14: 2561–2570.

Gay, S.W., Knowlton, K.F., 2005. Ammonia emission and animal agriculture. Biological Systems Engineering, 442–110.

Gruszecki, T., Bielińska, E.J., Chmielewski, T.J., Warda, M., Wróblewska, A., Bojar, W., Chmielewski, S., Grzywaczewski, G., Lipiec, A., Jankuszew, A., Kitowski, I., 2011. The use of extensive sheep grazing as a method of active protection within Natura 2000. Teka Commission of Protection and Formation of Natural Environment, OL PAN, 8: 5–16.

ISO 10390, 2002. International Standard Organization. Soil quality – Determination of pH.

ISO 14235, 1998. International Standard Organization. Soil quality – Determination of organic carbon by sulfochronic oxidation.

ISO 13878, 1998. International Standard Organization. Soil quality – Determination of total nitrogen content by dry combustion.

ISO 14255, 1998. International Standard Organization. Soil quality – Determination of nitrate nitrogen, ammonia nitrogen and total soluble nitrogen in air-dry soils.

ISO 11263, 1998. International Standard Organization. Soil quality – Determination of available phosphorus forms.

Kabata-Pendias, A., Motowicka-Terelak, T., Piotrowska, M., Terelak, H., Witek, T., 1993. Evaluation of Soil and Plant Contamination with Heavy Metals and Sulphur. General Recommendation for Agriculture (in Polish). IUNG Puławy, 35: 5–15.

Kondracki, J., 2002. Physical Geography Polish (in Polish). Wydawnictwo Naukowe PWN Warszawa.

Konecka-Betley, K., Czępińska-Kamińska, D., Janowska, E., Okołowicz, M., 2002. The soils of the zones of strict and partial protection of the Biosphere Reserve Puszcza Kampinowska (in Polish). Roczniki Gleboznawcze, 53, 3/4: 5–21.

Liao, M., Xie, X.M., 2007. Effect of Heavy Metals on Substrate Utilization Pattern, Biomass, and Activity Microbial Communities in a Reclaimed Mining Wasteland of Red Soil Area. Ecotoxicology and Environmental Safety, 66: 217–223.

Ligęza, S., 2009. The threat of soils on farms geese nitrogen and phosphorus compounds (in Polish). Zeszyty Problemowe Postępów Nauk Rolniczych, 535: 261–268.

Maurel, M., Ricard, J., 2006. The evolution of catalytic function. Physics of Life Reviews, 3: 56–54.

Mroczkowski, S., 2011. The dying sheep (in Polish). Przegląd hodowlany, 1: 1–3.

Nortcliff, S., 2002. Standardisation of soil quality attributes. Agriculture, Ecosystems & Environment, 88: 161–168.

Oleszczuk, P., Jośko, I., Kuśmierz, M., Futa, B., Wielgosz, E., Ligęza, S., Pranagal, J., 2014a. Microbiological, biochemical and ecotoxicological evaluation of soils in the areas of biochar production in relations to polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons content. Geoderma, 213: 502–511.

Oleszczuk, P., Jośko, I., Futa, B., Pasieczna-Patkowska, S., Pałys, E., Kraska, P., 2014b. Ef fect of pesticides on microorganisms, enzymatic activity and plant in biochar-amended soil. Geoderma, 214–215: 10–18.

Pascual, L., Antolin, M.C., Garcia, C., Polo, A., Sanchez-Diaz, M., 2007. Effect of water deficit on microbial characteristics in soil amended with sewage sludge or inorganic fertilizer under laboratory conditions. Bioresource Technology, 98: 29–37.

Reszel, R., Grądziel, T. ed., 2013. Nature and man (in Polish). Roztoczański Park Narodowy, Zwierzyniec.

Tabatabai, M.A., Bremner, J.M., 1969. Use of p-nitrophenyl phosphate for assay of soil phosphatase activity. Soil Biology & Biochemistry, 1: 301–307.

Thalmann, A., 1968. Zur Methodik derestimmung der Dehydrogenase aktivit in Boden mittels Triphenyltetrazoliumchlorid (TTC). Landwirtsch Forsch, 21: 249–258.

Tietema, A., Van Dam, D., 1996. Calculating microbial carbon and nitrogen transformations in acid forest litter with 15N enrichment and dynamic simulation modeling. Soil Biology & Biochemistry, 27: 111–122.

Wätzold, F., 2006. Implementing management plants in Natura 2000 sites: what abort cost-effectives? R-4 ALTER-Net meeting; Alterra, Wageningen.

Wilkinson, J.M., Hill, J., Phillips, C.J.C., 2003. The Accumulation of Potentially-Toxic Metals by Grazing Ruminants. Proceedings of the Nutrition Society, 62: 267–275.

Zantua, M.I., Bremner, J.M., 1975. Comparison of methods of assaying urease activity in soils. Soil Biology & Biochemistry, 7: 291–295.

Zhao, Y., Wang, P., Li, J., Chen, Y., Ying, X., Liu, S. 2009. The effects of two organic manures on soil properties and crop yields on a temperate calcareous soil under a wheat-maize cropping system. The European Journal of Agronomy 31: 36–42.

Data publikacji: 2017-03-08 11:31:42
Data złożenia artykułu: 2017-03-08 11:04:29


  • There are currently no refbacks.

Copyright (c) 2017 Barbara Futa, Krzysztof Patkowski, Elżbieta J. Bielińska, Tomasz M. Gruszecki, Michał Pluta, Mariusz Kulik, Szymon Chmielewski

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.