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Dernière mise à jour : Mai 2018

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Impacts of large herbivores on plants: consequences for litter decomposition

Issue 5, pp 455-464

T. LEFEBVRE¹,², C. GALLET¹

1Université Savoie Mont Blanc, CNRS, LECA, Laboratoire d’Écologie Alpine, 73000, Chambéry, France

2 Université Grenoble Alpes, CNRS, LECA, Laboratoire d’Écologie Alpine, 38000 Grenoble, France

Abstract

As primary consumers, herbivores play an important role in vegetation dynamics. Their effects run from the plant level by influencing plant metabolism, to the community level by changing the floristic composition and the abundance of plant species. These effects on vegetation can impact litter quality and can thus alter the decomposition process. This can in turn impact soil biogeochemical cycles and modify ecosystem functioning. Here, we review the literature on plant and large herbivore interactions, focusing on the means by which herbivores affect plants, the plant strategies to cope with herbivory, and the mechanisms by which herbivores can affect ecosystem functioning via the alteration of litter decomposition.

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