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Copyright © 2002 by the author(s). Published here under license by The Resilience Alliance.

The following is the established format for referencing this article:
Jones, G. 2002. Ruminants and rodents. Conservation Ecology 6(2): r10. [online] URL: http://www.consecol.org/vol6/iss2/resp10/

Response to Jeffrey Fehmi 2002. "The Context of Grassland Defoliation"

Ruminants and Rodents

Gary Jones

Jeffrey Fehmi (2002) brings up an important point about the interactions of various grazing populations and their impacts on swards. In a recent paper presented to the Ecological Society of America and the Society for Ecological Restoration at their joint 2002 Annual Meeting in Tucson, Arizona, Dennis M. Bramble, University of Utah, noted that rodent populations such as those of the montane meadow vole (Microtus montanus) increase and decrease with the availability of forage. When swards are grazed by ruminants, there is less forage available to support rodent populations. Ruminants do not generally consume large amounts of brush and woody vegetation, but rodents will consume the roots of these species when other forage is not available. Range managers can use this interaction to control sward composition and to reduce sward degradation by invasive shrubs. Deferring ruminant grazing in the spring can allow an increase in rodent populations. When the sward is subsequently grazed by ruminants, the large rodent population will switch to eating shrubs. The net result is a reduction of shrubs.

Published: November 1, 2002


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Fehmi, J. 2002. The context of grassland defoliation. Conservation Ecology 6(1):r7. [online] URL: http://www.consecol.org/Journal/vol6/iss1/resp7

Address of Correspondent:
Gary Jones
Milo, California
Phone: (559) 539-6017

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