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  • Print publication year: 2006
  • Online publication date: November 2009

13 - Effects of large herbivores on other fauna

Summary

INTRODUCTION

Here we will describe and discuss the effects of large herbivores on animal community composition, diversity and abundance, using examples from different taxonomic and functional groups in different habitats. The main focus is the effect of wild ungulates in natural or semi‐natural habitats, but when relevant we will also cover the effects of domestic grazers in agricultural systems. Less attention will be given to the effects of large herbivores on groups which recently have been reviewed (e.g. birds) (McShea & Rappole 1997, Van Wieren 1998, Fuller 2001), less studied groups (e.g. reptiles and aquatic communities) (but see e.g. Strand & Merritt 1999) and on the consequences following the transfer of forests into grasslands by large herbivores (e.g. Van Wieren 1998, see also Chapter 7).

Our focus will be on ecological processes affecting animal communities, e.g. impacts of competition for food with other herbivores, and indirect impacts via changes in habitat structure on seemingly unrelated taxa. The possible differences between introduced and native wild herbivores as well as between wild and domestic grazers will be discussed; parasitism and the role of dung will only briefly be mentioned. By impacts, or effects, we mean observed changes in animal community composition, or abundance in response to changes in presence, density or species composition of large herbivores. The last part of the chapter summarizes the observed impacts on other biota, and discusses some theoretical and practical issues associated with the effects of large herbivores on other animals.

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