Multiple Effects of Introduced Mammalian Herbivores in a Temperate Forest
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- Vázquez, D.P. Biological Invasions (2002) 4: 175. doi:10.1023/A:1020522923905
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Introduced mammalian herbivores can significantly affect ecosystems. Here, I review evidence on effects of introduced mammalian herbivores in the temperate forest of the southern Andes. Available data suggest that introduced herbivores decrease the abundance of seedlings and saplings of dominant tree species in some forest types, which could impair forest regeneration. They also affect understory species composition. The mechanisms of the effects of introduced herbivores are complex, and include direct effects of browsing or trampling and more complex interactions such as indirect effects through other species. Some native mammalian and avian predators may benefit from increased food availability resulting from high densities of some introduced mammalian herbivores. In turn, enhanced populations of predators may have resulted in increased predation on native prey. Competition for resources and disease transmission have also been proposed as possible negative effects of introduced herbivores on native herbivores, but little evidence supports this claim. Little is known about effects on invertebrates.