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Thursday, March 27, 2014

Eliminate deer from area will decrese Garlic Mustard growth

In ecosystems worldwide, the presence of overabundant ungulates (e.g. deer, cows) and the invasion of exotic plants are disrupting native communities. A recent hypothesis causally links these problems implicating overabundant ungulates in enhancing invaders’ demographic success. We tested this hypothesis in a forest where white-tailed deer are over-abundant and garlic mustard is aggressively invading. Using long-term, replicated deer exclusion/deer access plot pairs, we quantified population density, growth, and decline of this invader and native plants. We conclusively demonstrate that deer are required for garlic mustard success; its local extinction is projected where deer are absent. Our findings provide the first definitive support connecting overabundant ungulates to enhanced invader success, with broad implications for bio-diversity and ecosystem function.

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