Staff Publications

Staff Publications

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    'Staff publications' is the digital repository of Wageningen University & Research

    'Staff publications' contains references to publications authored by Wageningen University staff from 1976 onward.

    Publications authored by the staff of the Research Institutes are available from 1995 onwards.

    Full text documents are added when available. The database is updated daily and currently holds about 240,000 items, of which 72,000 in open access.

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Record number 353741
Title Herbivore impact on grassland plant diversity depens on habitat productivity and herbivore size.
Author(s) Bakker, E.S.; Ritchie, M.E.; Olff, H.; Milchunas, D.G.; Knops, J.M.H.
Source Ecology Letters 9 (2006)7. - ISSN 1461-023X - p. 780 - 788.
Department(s) Nature Conservation and Plant Ecology
Resource Ecology
Publication type Refereed Article in a scientific journal
Publication year 2006
Keyword(s) species-richness - tallgrass prairie - community structure - establishment - recruitment - germination - disturbance - gradient - seed - environments
Abstract Mammalian herbivores can have pronounced effects on plant diversity but are currently declining in many productive ecosystems through direct extirpation, habitat loss and fragmentation, while being simultaneously introduced as livestock in other, often unproductive, ecosystems that lacked such species during recent evolutionary times. The biodiversity consequences of these changes are still poorly understood. We experimentally separated the effects of primary productivity and herbivores of different body size on plant species richness across a 10-fold productivity gradient using a 7-year field experiment at seven grassland sites in North America and Europe. We show that assemblages including large herbivores increased plant diversity at higher productivity but decreased diversity at low productivity, while small herbivores did not have consistent effects along the productivity gradient. The recognition of these large-scale, cross-site patterns in herbivore effects is important for the development of appropriate biodiversity conservation strategies
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