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Trophic rewilding presents regionally specific opportunities for mitigating climate change

Artikel i vetenskaplig tidskrift
Författare C. J. Sandom
O. Middleton
E. Lundgren
J. Rowan
S. D. Schowanek
J. C. Svenning
Sören Faurby
Publicerad i Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B-Biological Sciences
Volym 375
Nummer/häfte 1794
ISSN 0962-8436
Publiceringsår 2020
Publicerad vid Institutionen för biologi och miljövetenskap
Språk en
Länkar dx.doi.org/10.1098/rstb.2019.0125
Ämnesord climate change, functional ecology, herbivory, macroecology, mammals, pleistocene extinctions, diversity, predation, communities, browsers, dynamics, grazers, impact, threat, worlds, Life Sciences & Biomedicine - Other Topics
Ämneskategorier Geovetenskap och miljövetenskap, Biologiska vetenskaper

Sammanfattning

Large-bodied mammalian herbivores can influence processes that exacerbate or mitigate climate change. Herbivore impacts are, in turn, influenced by predators that place top-down forcing on prey species within a given body size range. Here, we explore how the functional composition of terrestrial large-herbivore and -carnivore guilds varies between three mammal distribution scenarios: Present-Natural, Current-Day and Extant-Native Trophic (ENT) Rewilding. Considering the effects of herbivore species weakly influenced by top-down forcing, we quantify the relative influence keystone large-herbivore guilds have on methane emissions, woody vegetation expansion, fire dynamics, large-seed dispersal, and nitrogen and phosphorus transport potential. We find strong regional differences in the number of herbivores under weak top-down regulation between our three scenarios, with important implications for how they will influence climate change relevant processes. Under the Present-Natural non-ruminant, megaherbivore, browsers were a particularly important guild across much of the world. Megaherbivore extinction and range contraction and the arrival of livestock mean large, ruminant, grazers have become more dominant. ENT Rewilding can restore the Afrotropics and the Indo-Malay realm to the Present-Natural benchmark, but causes top-down forcing of the largest herbivores to become commonplace elsewhere. ENT Rewilding will reduce methane emissions, but does not maximize natural climate solution potential. This article is part of the theme issue 'Climate change and ecosystems: threats, opportunities and solutions'.

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