The Effect of Herbivory by White-Tailed Deer and Additionally Swamp Rabbits in an Old-Growth Bottomland Hardwood ForestThis article is part of a larger document. View the larger document here.
Forest openings create internal patchiness and offer different habitat qualities that attract wildlife, especially herbivores, that flourish along forest edges. But intense herbivory in these openings can reduce or eliminate herbaceous and woody species and thus influence local species composition and structure of the forest. This study in an old-growth bottomland hardwood forest in southeastern Arkansas compares plant colonization among experimental plots, which excluded white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus), deer and swamp rabbits (Sylvilagus aquaticus), and control plots. After the third year, plant species composition and abundance were significantly affected by herbivores.