Role of herebivorous and granivorous fauna in the maintenance of mesquite coppice dune systems

TitleRole of herebivorous and granivorous fauna in the maintenance of mesquite coppice dune systems
Publication TypeConference Paper
Year of Publication1999
AuthorsFredrickson E.L., Longland W.S., Hyder P.W., Hu D., Estell R.E.
Conference Name5th Symposium on Resources of the Chihuahuan Desert Region: U.S. and Mexico
Date PublishedOctober 7-8, 199
Conference LocationAlpine, TX
ARIS Log Number129601
AbstractPart of the ongoing desertification process within the Chihuahuan Desert involves replacement of former grasslands by shrubs. At the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service, Jornada Experimental Range, vast areas of Black Grama, Bouteloua eriopoda, grasslands were replaced by mesquite, Prosopis glandulosa glandulosa, which hsubsequently facilitates the formation of coppice dunes or mounds of sand around established shrubs. Three studies were designed to assess the effects of two broad guilds of fauna herbivores (foliage eaters) and granivores (seed eaters) in maintaining coppice dune states. We also consider in greater detail species-specific roles played by a group of desert rodents known to have keystone effects on Chihuahuan Desert plant communities. These studies indicate the small mammals studied both maintain and probably augment coppice dune systems.