Size-selective exclusion of mammals and invertebrates differently affects grassland plant communities depending on vegetation type

Xiaowei Wang, Martin Schutz & Anita Risch
Human-caused loss of vertebrate and invertebrate animals, defaunation, is increasing, and potentially affects plant community structure of diverse grassland ecosystems worldwide. We experimentally simulated defaunation using size-selective fences to progressively exclude large-, medium- and small-sized mammals, and invertebrates from two subalpine vegetation types in the Swiss National Park (SNP): intensively grazed short-grass and moderately grazed tall-grass vegetation. We assessed plant community properties yearly from 2009 to 2013, and examined treatment effects on plant community structure...
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