Navigation Links
Deer proliferation disrupts a forest's natural growth
Date:3/7/2014

ITHACA, N.Y. By literally looking below the surface and digging up the dirt, Cornell researchers have discovered that a burgeoning deer population forever alters the progression of a forest's natural future by creating environmental havoc in the soil and disrupting the soil's natural seed banks.

The study, "Deer Browsing Delays Succession by Altering Aboveground Vegetation and Belowground Seed Banks," was published online March 7 in PLOS ONE.

"Deer are slowing down forest succession or natural establishment. In fact, the deer are preventing forests from establishing," says Anurag Agrawal, Cornell professor of ecology and evolutionary biology, a co-author on the paper.

Deer typically prefer to eat native, woody plants and rebuff invasive species. The study showed that when deer consume native plants, the non-native species are left to flourish, dropping seed in the soil.

As forests normally mature, their grasses give way to herbs and shrubs, and then new trees eventually take root. Expanding deer populations in the Northeast, however, stall forest development and promote the growth of thorny thickets of buckthorn, viburnum and multiflora rose bushes. If deer leave the forests alone, such trees as cottonwood, locust and sumac can sprout and grow unimpeded.

The researchers found that the impacts of deer grazing on vegetation were severe and resulted in bare soil and reduced plant biomass, less recruitment of woody species and relatively fewer native species. And the deer's negative impact on seed banks resulted in significantly decreased overall species richness and relatively more short-lived species of both annual and biennial plants.

Co-author Antonio DiTommaso, Cornell associate professor of weed ecology and management, and research technician Scott Morris gathered soil cores from both within and outside of fenced "deer exclosures" and germinated the seed. They found the soil cores from outside of the exclosures contained many more seeds from non-native species.

Deer select forests for their trees but in doing so disrupt forest system growth trajectories, concludes the study.

"It's obvious that the deer are affecting the above-ground species, but it's like an iceberg. There are major effects below the soil surface. We are seeing a divergence of seeds contained within the soil from what should be there," says DiTommaso. "We are not seeing the seeds of woody plants. Instead, we're seeing an escalation of non-native seed and the virtual elimination of woody plant seeds."


'/>"/>
Contact: Joe Schwartz
Joe.Schwartz@cornell.edu
607-254-6235
Cornell University
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. Stem cell proliferation and differentiation observed within hydrogel
2. Prenatal exposure to alcohol disrupts brain circuitry
3. Fetal stress disrupts the way genes are transmitted
4. Cystic fibrosis disrupts pancreas two ways in CF-related diabetes
5. Biodiversity in production forests can be improved without large costs
6. Forests in Central America paying the price of drug trafficking shift
7. Forests as Capital: International Society of Tropical Foresters Annual Conference in New Haven
8. Rainforests in Far East shaped by humans for the last 11,000 years
9. Tropical forests mitigate extreme weather events
10. Young tropical forests contribute little to biodiversity conservation
11. Development near Oregon, Washington public forests
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:12/15/2016)... Germany , December 15, 2016 ... today announced an agreement with NuData Security, an award-winning ... The partnership will enable clients to focus on good customer ... data protection regulation. ... In order to provide a one-stop fraud prevention ...
(Date:12/15/2016)... 2016 Advancements in biometrics will ... and wellbeing (HWW), and security of vehicles ... passenger vehicles begin to feature fingerprint recognition, ... beat monitoring, brain wave monitoring, stress detection, ... pulse detection. These will be driven by ...
(Date:12/12/2016)...  Researchers at Trinity College, Dublin, are opening ... the material with Silly Putty. The mixture (known as ... to sense pulse, blood pressure, respiration, and even ... The research team,s findings were published Thursday ... http://science.sciencemag.org/content/354/6317/1257 ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:1/16/2017)... ... January 16, 2017 , ... Attagene , a ... the U.S. Small Business Administration. The Tibbetts Award honors the Small Business ... […] and are considered the best of the best from the thousands of ...
(Date:1/13/2017)... , Jan 13, 2017 Research and Markets has ... to their offering. ... global biopolymers market to grow at a CAGR of 16.83% during the ... the growth prospects of the global biopolymers market for 2017-2021. To calculate ... of sales of biopolymer products. The report also includes a a discussion ...
(Date:1/12/2017)... (PRWEB) , ... January 12, 2017 , ... Each year, ... Eureka Index – a process that evaluates the patent estate of a company, its ... LLC , a biomedical firm leading the way in technologies that transform energy sources ...
(Date:1/12/2017)... Jan. 12, 2017   Protein Sciences Corporation ... of Flublok Influenza Vaccine ®, announced today ... had good safety results and induced strong neutralizing ... The product is expected to advance into human ... addition, the Institute of Technology in Immunobiologicals of ...
Breaking Biology Technology: