Ungulate browsing shapes climate change impacts on forest biodiversity in Hungary

Katona, Krisztián and Kiss, Márton and Bleier, Norbert and Székely, János and Nyeste, Mariann and Kovács, Vera and Terhes, Attila and Fodor, Áron and Olajos, Tamás and Rasztovits, Ervin and Szemethy, László (2013) Ungulate browsing shapes climate change impacts on forest biodiversity in Hungary. Biodiversity and Conservation, 22 (5). pp. 1167-1180. ISSN 0960-3115


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Climate change can result in a slow disappearance of forests dominated by less drought-tolerant native European beech (Fagus sylvatica) and oak species (Quercus spp.) and further area expansion of more drought-tolerant non-native black locust (Robinia pseudoacacia) against those species in Hungary. We assumed that the shift in plant species composition was modified by selective ungulate browsing. Thus, we investigated which woody species are selected by browsing game. We have collected data on the species composition of the understory and the browsing impact on it in five different Hungarian even-aged forests between 2003 and 2005. Based on these investigations the non-native Robinia pseudoacacialiving under more favourable climatic conditions was generally preferred (Jacobs’ selectivity index: D=0.04±0.77), while the nativeFagus sylvatica and Quercus spp. (Q. petraea, Q. robur), both more vulnerable to increasing aridity, were avoided (D=-0.37±0.11;-0.79±0.56;-0.9±0.16; respectively) among target tree species. However, economically less or not relevant species, e.g. elderberry (Sambucus spp.), blackberry (Rubus spp.) or common dogwood (Cornus sanguinea) were the most preferred species (D=0.01±0.71; -0.12±0.58; -0.2±0.78, respectively). Our results imply that biodiversity conservation, i.e. maintaining or establishing a multi-species understory layer, can be a good solution to reduce the additional negative game impact on native target tree species suffering from drought. Due to preference for Robinia pseudoacaciaselective browsing can decelerate the penetration of this species into native forest habitats. We have to consider the herbivorous pressure of ungulates and their feeding preferences in planning our future multifunctional forests in the light of climate change impacts.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Red deer; Black locust; Preference; Even-aged forest; Understory; Climate adaptation
Subjects: Q Science / természettudomány > QH Natural history / természetrajz > QH540 Ecology / ökológia
S Agriculture / mezőgazdaság > SD Forestry / erdőgazdaság
S Agriculture / mezőgazdaság > SK Hunting sports / vadgazdálkodás, vadászat
Depositing User: Dr Krisztián Katona
Date Deposited: 14 Sep 2014 13:57
Last Modified: 14 Sep 2014 13:57

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