Landscape-level vegetation recovery from herbivory: progress after four decades of invasive red deer control
Tanentzap, Andrew J., Larry E. Burrows, William G. Lee, Graham Nugent, Jane M. Maxwell, and David A. Coomes. 2009. "Landscape-level vegetation recovery from herbivory: progress after four decades of invasive red deer control". Journal of Applied Ecology.46 (5): 1064-1072.
It’s late. I’m going informal…
Asked: if you get rid of the pesky ungulates (yes, I had to look that up) eating up the native vegetation, in this case deer, will those tree/shrub/grass species recover to former densities? After culling 92% of the deer population on a site the answer was: “… the reduction of red deer populations is yet to result in landscape-level increases in the abundances of most palatable species”. What? You take the evil introduced animal away and it doesn’t solve the problem? Interesting. This is likely a useful study to cite (it took place, thanks to supportive government policy, over 46 years), but the article itself is heavy on procedure reporting, and light on analysis into alternatives. Given their study outcome the authors end with advocating restoring the function of an ecosystem, rather than the composition of the system. The concluding discussion gave me the sense that the authors were up on their academic reading – think novel ecosystems, the need to recognize factors in degradation - but the absence of a presentation of alternative strategies gives a hollow end to the reading.