Long-Term Effects of White-Tailed Deer Exclusion on the Invasion of Exotic Plants: A Case Study in a Mid-Atlantic Temperate ForestReport as inadecuate




Long-Term Effects of White-Tailed Deer Exclusion on the Invasion of Exotic Plants: A Case Study in a Mid-Atlantic Temperate Forest - Download this document for free, or read online. Document in PDF available to download.

Exotic plant invasions and chronic high levels of herbivory are two of the major biotic stressors impacting temperate forest ecosystems in eastern North America, and the two problems are often linked. We used a 4-ha deer exclosure maintained since 1991 to examine the influence of a generalist herbivore, white-tailed deer Odocoileus virginianus, on the abundance of four exotic invasive Rosa multiflora, Berberis thunbergii, Rubus phoenicolasius and Microstegium vimineum and one native Cynoglossum virginianum plant species, within a 25.6-ha mature temperate forest dynamics plot in Virginia, USA. We identified significant predictors of the abundance of each focal species using generalized linear models incorporating 10 environmental and landscape variables. After controlling for those predictors, we applied our models to a 4-ha deer exclusion site and a 4-ha reference site, both embedded within the larger plot, to test the role of deer on the abundance of the focal species. Slope, edge effects and soil pH were the most frequent predictors of the abundance of the focal species on the larger plot. The abundance of C. virginianum, known to be deer-dispersed, was significantly lower in the exclosure. Similar patterns were detected for B. thunbergii, R. phoenicolasius and M. vimineum, whereas R. multiflora was more abundant within the exclosure. Our results indicate that chronic high deer density facilitates increased abundances of several exotic invasive plant species, with the notable exception of R. multiflora. We infer that the invasion of many exotic plant species that are browse-tolerant to white-tailed deer could be limited by reducing deer populations.



Author: Xiaoli Shen , Norman A. Bourg, William J. McShea, Benjamin L. Turner

Source: http://plos.srce.hr/



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