Ungulate Overabundance As a Driver of Above- and below-Ground Interactions and Ecosystem Processes
Wednesday, August 12, 2015: 1:30 PM-5:00 PM
310, Baltimore Convention Center
Relative to historical records, forests worldwide are increasingly fragmented, invaded by exotic species and, experience unprecedented degrees of herbivore pressure when native and introduced ungulate populations become overabundant. Over the last half century, ungulate overabundance has been increasingly recognized as a major driver of ecological change in habitats ranging from remnant natural areas to old growth forests across tropical, temperate, boreal biomes. Our session will examine the extent to which overabundant wild and introduced ungulate species are central forces driving profound changes in both above and belowground communities and processes within forested ecosystems. Speakers will present data from temperate, boreal and tropical regions to address key questions including: What are the linkages between ungulates and aboveground and belowground processes in forest ecosystems worldwide? Do ungulates have additive or synergistic interactions with invasive species? Can ungulate effects be mitigated and biodiversity/ ecosystem function be restored? The talks will cover population-, community-, and ecosystem-level processes and consequences. This session will highlight exciting frontiers exploring the roles of myriad species interactions, expand our knowledge of ungulate impacts on forest ecosystem function and, point to the importance of expanded knowledge of the forest ecosystem as a whole.