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Use of Water Buffalo for Environmental Conservation of Waterland - Review -

  • Georgoudis, A.G. (Department of Animal Production, Faculty of Agriculture, Aristotle University) ;
  • Papanastasis, V.P. (Department of Range Science and Wildlife Freshwater Fisheries, Faculty of Forestry and Natural Environment, Aristotle University) ;
  • Boyazoglu, J.G. (Department of Animal Production, Faculty of Agriculture, Aristotle University)
  • Published : 1999.12.01

Abstract

The aim of this paper is to propose the preservation of buffaloes not only as productive livestock, but also as a part of the biodiversity of wetlands and especially of the Greek wetlands. The water buffalo used to be an integral part of the biodiversity of many Greek wetland ecosystems, enriched their landscape, and provided invaluable services and products to the rural people and to the economy in general. Its total population before the 1950s was over 100,000 animals. Presently, it is found only in four wetland sites in Macedonia and Thrace and in the estuaries of Rivers Gallikos and Axios, with a total population of a few hundred animals. These wetlands are Ramsar Sites. Even this small population is threatened with immediate extinction because of the rapidly changing rural socio-economic conditions and the expansion of cultivated fields into wet meadows. Farmers and consumers are rapidly losing contact with this mammal and its products. This species possesses minimum requirements for treatment and is characterized by the ability of utilizing roughage of variable nutritional value. These factors are promising to render buffalo breeding a valuable branch of the Greek livestock sector, which can also contribute to the maintenance of the wetlands.

Keywords

Water Buffalo;Conservation;Wetlands;Grazing

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