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Herbivores have the capacity to modify plant community composition and ecosystem structure and function via browsing. For example, moose and snowshoe hare facilitate succession in Alaska’s boreal forest by preferentially browsing early successional species over late successional conifers. Snowshoe hares also eat conifers, including white spruce, and this browsing may affect the pattern of spruce establishment over time. We measured over 800 spruce at 18 locations along the Tanana River floodplain in interior Alaska, USA and demonstrated that the proportion of spruce browsed annually positively correlates with annual hare abundance. Nearly all seedlings sampled had been browsed. Further, we modeled the pattern of...
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Herbivores transform landscapes and affect succession via selective foraging that alters vegetation composition. In the boreal forest, mammalian herbivores, mainly moose, facilitate a shift toward the dominance of heavily defended species over time, such as white spruce. The effects of moose herbivory are intensified by the browsing of snowshoe hares. However, unlike moose, snowshoe hares also browse seedlings of white spruce. We quantified herbivory by snowshoe hares on white spruce along the Tanana River, interior Alaska, and assessed the effects on white spruce demography via two different herbivore exclosure experiments. We hypothesized that both experiments would show reduced plant density and height growth...


map background search result map search result map Asynchronous recruitment dynamics of snowshoe hares and white spruce in a boreal forest Stage-dependent effects of browsing by snowshoe hares on successional dynamics in a boreal forest ecosystem Stage-dependent effects of browsing by snowshoe hares on successional dynamics in a boreal forest ecosystem Asynchronous recruitment dynamics of snowshoe hares and white spruce in a boreal forest