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 106875
Title Effects of introduction and exclusion of large herbivores on small rodent communities
Author(s) Smit, R.; Bokdam, J.; Ouden, J. den; Olff, H.; Schot-Opschoor, H.; Schrijvers, M.
Source Plant Ecology 155 (2001). - ISSN 1385-0237 - p. 119 - 127.
Department(s) Plant Ecology and Nature Conservation
Publication type Refereed Article in a scientific journal
Publication year 2001
Abstract In this study we analysed the effects of large herbivores on small rodent communities in different habitats using large herbivore exclosures. We studied the effects of three year grazing introduction by red deer (Cervus elaphus L.) in previously ungrazed pine and oak woodland and the exclusion of grazing by red deer, roe deer (Capreolus capreolus L.) and mouflon (Ovis ammon musimin L.) in formerly, heavily grazed pine woodland and heathland. At eight exclosure sites within each habitat type, small rodents were captured with live traps using trapping grids. At each trapping grid, seed plots of beechnuts (Fagus sylvatica L.) and acorns (Quercus robur L.) were placed to measure seed predation by rodents. Exclusion of grazing by large herbivores in formerly, heavily grazed habitats had a significant effect on small rodent communities. Inside exclosures higher densities of mainly wood mice (Apodemus svlvaticus L.) and field voles (Microtus agrestis L.) were captured. Introduction of grazing by red deer appeared to have no significant negative effects on small rodent communities. The seed predation intensity of beechnuts and acorns by small rodents was significantly higher in ungrazed situations, particularly in habitats that were excluded from grazing. The differences between grazing introduction and exclusion effects on small rodent communities can be explained by differences in vegetation structure development. The recovery of heavily browsed understory vegetation after large herbivore grazing exclusion proceeded faster than the understory degradation due to grazing introduction. Small rodents depend on structural rich vegetations mainly for shelter. We conclude that large herbivores can have significant effects on vegetation dynamics not only via direct plant consumption but also through indirect effects by reducing the habitat quality of small rodent habitats.
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