Long-term biological legacies of herbivore density in a landscape-scale experiment: forest understories reflect past deer density treatments for at least 20 years
- Download PDF (314.0 KB)
- This publication is available only online.
Journal of Ecology. 102: 221-228.
Ungulate browsers, when at high densities, are major drivers of vegetation change in forests world-wide. Their effects operate via a variety of generalizable mechanisms related to plant palatability and relative growth rate with respect to browsing pressure. Though such impacts are obviously long-lasting when they determine composition of tree regeneration, we document in a unique long-term (30 year) experiment that biological legacies of initial deer density persist in the understorey herbaceous vegetation at least 20 years after deer densities were equalized.
Keywordsbiological legacy; determinants of plant community diversity and structure; eastern deciduous forest; ferns; Odocoileus virginianus; Pennsylvania; plant–herbivore interactions; whitetailed deer
Nuttle, Tim; Ristau, Todd E.; Royo, Alejandro A. 2014. Long-term biological legacies of herbivore density in a landscape-scale experiment: forest understories reflect past deer density treatments for at least 20 years. Journal of Ecology. 102: 221-228. https://doi.org/10.1111/1365-2745.12175.