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Impact of free-ranging large herbivores on grassland ecosystems

Samar Al Sayegh-Petkovšek and Boštjan Pokorny and Dejan Firm and Klemen Jerina (2015) Impact of free-ranging large herbivores on grassland ecosystems. Acta Silvae et Ligni (107). pp. 1-10. ISSN 2335-3112

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    Free-ranging large herbivores are keystone species in terrestrial ecosystems, and have an important ecological role by affecting both the structure and the function of plant communities and other groups of organisms. Large herbivores often increase plant diversity especially in more productive grasslands such as temperate grasslands in Europe. Additionally, other important effects of ruminants are redistribution of nutrients by feeding and subsequent excretion of urine and dung, soil compaction and erosion via trampling and dispersal of seeds, respectively. In Europe, populations of several ruminants species are increasing both in number and geographical distribution, and problems connected with effects of grazing of red deer (Cervus elaphus L.) on grassland in some locations in Slovenia have been increasing as well. Several areas of the Inner Carniola and Kočevje regions have been overgrown with forest, and these areas have the highest density of red deer. Therefore, the pressure of red deer on the remaining grasslands is increasing and may cause important economic loss for land owners. Ungulates can affect the economic profitability of grasslands also indirectly, through the impact on species composition of grasslands and by altering the overall productivity of soil. For proper management of their populations both direct and indirect ecological impacts and value of free-ranging ungulates have to be known. Therefore, an overview of foreign and Slovene studies related to the impacts of free-ranging ruminants on grassland ecosystems is presented in the paper.

    Item Type: Article
    Link to COBISS: http://www.cobiss.si/scripts/cobiss?command=SEARCH&base=COBIB&select=ID= 4356774
    Item ID: 1859
    Date Deposited: 18 Apr 2016 14:51
    Last Modified: 18 Apr 2016 14:51
    URI: http://eprints.gozdis.si/id/eprint/1859

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