Chapter

The Ecology of Browsing and Grazing

Volume 195 of the series Ecological Studies pp 217-261

Plant Traits, Browsing and Gazing Herbivores, and Vegetation Dynamics

  • Christina SkarpeAffiliated withFaculty of Forestry and Wildlife Management, Hedmark University College
  • , Alison J. HesterAffiliated withCraigiebuckler, Macaulay Institute

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Large browsing and grazing herbivores can have a profound influence on the physiognomy, composition, and function of vegetation, from the landscape scale to a single plant (Hobbs 1996; Augustine and McNaughton 1998). By selective foraging among populations of plant modules and genets and along resource gradients, herbivores exert differential pressures on plant populations at different spatial and temporal scales (Kielland and Bryant 1998; Allison 1990; Price 1991; Jia et al. 1995; Danell et al. 2003). In addition, herbivore behavioural costs (predation, shelter seeking, etc.) can strongly influence locational, and therefore foraging, choice (Schmitz 2003; Letourneau and Dyer 2004).