Herbivore-plant interactions and desertification in arid lands

TitleHerbivore-plant interactions and desertification in arid lands
Publication TypeBook Chapter
Year of Publication2010
AuthorsWhitford WG, Steinberger Y
Book TitleAll Flesh is Grass
Series TitleCellular Origin, Life in Extreme Habitats and Astrobiology
Series Volume16
ARIS Log Number263287
Keywordsherbivory, plant-animal interactions
AbstractArid lands around the world have experienced or are currently experiencing degradation that is known as desertification. Animal-plant interactions that have an effect on desertification are among the most important function of animals in arid ecosystems. Desertification has been defined as land degradation in arid and semiarid areas that is the result of various factors, including climate variation and human activities. The interactions between animals and plants affect desertification arid environments in a number of ways. These interactions may exacerbate desertification processes or contribute to the stability of desertified ecosystems. Some animal-plant interactions are direct, e.g., herbivory, while others are indirect, e.g., seed dispersal and soil modification. Animal-plant interactions that contribute to changes in the structure of plant communities or the spread of alien plant species may enhance some degradation processes such as soil erosion or contribute to soil stability and resistance to degradation.