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Wild ungulates : what are their negative and positive impacts on forest?

Abstract : Over the past 40 years, populations of red deer, roe deer and wild boar have increased in France, so that their presence in suburban and rural areas threatens economical activities such as agriculture and forestry, and generates significant health risks for humans. At high densities, these animals are changing the structure and composition of forest plant communities. In fact, these communities can switch to alternative states, coupled with local extinction of native species and reduction of species diversity. In this context of uncontrolled abundance, managers and scientists consider deer as a threat to the understory vegetation and organisms that depend on it. With our work, we have been able to demonstrate that the abundance of deer can indeed disrupt or inhibit the renewal of some stands. We also found, more generally, that browsing induces a negative impact on some semi-woody and woody species of the shrub layer. In contrast, we observed more recently, positive effects on the richness and diversity of the herbaceous layer. We have also shown that deer can participate in the dissemination of plants and, in the mountains of Arc-en-Barrois (Haute-Marne, France), to the spreading of a rare species. Considering that wild ungulates cause both positive and negative effects, we suggest evaluating their potential as agents for the management of the diversity of forest flora.
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Submitted on : Friday, May 15, 2020 - 8:36:45 PM
Last modification on : Tuesday, November 23, 2021 - 3:08:02 PM

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  • HAL Id : hal-02595984, version 1
  • IRSTEA : PUB00033541

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Anders Mårell. Wild ungulates : what are their negative and positive impacts on forest?. 2ème colloque international sur les relations cerf-forêt : Impacts de la surabondance des grands herbivores sur l'aménagement des écosystèmes forestiers, Aug 2011, Québec, Canada. pp.66. ⟨hal-02595984⟩

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