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Burned and devoured : Introduced herbivores, fire and the endemic flora of the high elevation ecosystem on La Palma, Canary Islands

Title data

Irl, Severin D. H. ; Steinbauer, Manuel ; Messinger, Jana ; Blume-Werry, Gesche ; Palomares-Martínez, Angel ; Beierkuhnlein, Carl ; Jentsch, Anke:
Burned and devoured : Introduced herbivores, fire and the endemic flora of the high elevation ecosystem on La Palma, Canary Islands.
Institute of Arctic and Alpine Research (INSTAAR), University of Colorado
In: Arctic, Antarctic, and Alpine Research. Vol. 46 (2014) Issue 4 . - pp. 859-869.
ISSN 1938-4246
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1657/1938-4246-46.4.859

Abstract in another language

Novel disturbance regimes (e.g. introduced herbivores and fire) are among the major drivers of degradation in island ecosystems. High elevation ecosystems (HEEs) on islands might be especially vulnerable to these disturbances due to high endemism. Here, data from an 11-year exclosure experiment in the HEE of La Palma (Canary Islands) are presented where mammalian herbivores have been introduced. We investigate the combined effect of herbivory and fire on total species richness, seedling richness and seedling establishment on the whole system and a subset of highly endangered species (target species). Total species richness, seedling species richness, and seedling establishment decreased with herbivory. Five out of eight target species were exclusively found inside the exclosures indicating the negative impact of introduced herbivores on endemic high elevation flora. Target species were generally affected more negatively by introduced herbivores and were subject to significantly higher browsing pressure, probably owing to their lack of defense strategies. A natural wildfire that occurred six years before data sampling substantially increased total species richness and seedling richness in both herbivory exclosure and reference conditions. We conclude that species composition of the HEE has been severely altered by the introduction of non-native herbivores, even though fire seems to have a positive effect on this system.

Further data

Item Type: Article in a journal
Refereed: Yes
Additional notes: BAYCEER124609
Institutions of the University: Faculties
Faculties > Faculty of Biology, Chemistry and Earth Sciences
Faculties > Faculty of Biology, Chemistry and Earth Sciences > Department of Earth Sciences
Faculties > Faculty of Biology, Chemistry and Earth Sciences > Department of Earth Sciences > Chair Biogeography
Faculties > Faculty of Biology, Chemistry and Earth Sciences > Department of Earth Sciences > Chair Biogeography > Chair Biogeography - Univ.-Prof. Dr. Carl Beierkuhnlein
Faculties > Faculty of Biology, Chemistry and Earth Sciences > Department of Earth Sciences > Professorship Disturbance Ecology
Faculties > Faculty of Biology, Chemistry and Earth Sciences > Department of Earth Sciences > Junior Professorship Biogeographical Modelling
Research Institutions
Research Institutions > Research Centres
Research Institutions > Research Centres > Bayreuth Center of Ecology and Environmental Research- BayCEER
Service Facilities > Ökologisch-Botanischer Garten
Service Facilities
Result of work at the UBT: Yes
DDC Subjects: 500 Science
500 Science > 500 Natural sciences
500 Science > 570 Life sciences, biology
500 Science > 580 Plants (Botany)
Date Deposited: 24 Apr 2015 11:55
Last Modified: 08 Nov 2016 06:19
URI: https://eref.uni-bayreuth.de/id/eprint/11347