Author(s): Fryxell JM, Sinclair AR
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Abstract Many populations of large herbivores migrate seasonally between discrete home ranges. Current evidence suggests that migration is generally selected for as a means of enhancing access to high quality food and/or reducing the risk of predation. The relative importance of these alternative selection pressures should depend on the demographic circumstances facing a given population. Seasonal migration also has important implications for the structure and dynamics of large herbivore communities. Migrants should tend to be regulated by food availability, while residents should tend to be regulated by predators As a result, migrants should often outnumber residents by a considerable margin - a pattern seen in several tropical and temperate ecosystems. Differences in the mode of regulation could also imply that competition for resources will be weak in purely resident assemblages, but strong in communities dominated by migrants. Continual grazing by resident herbivores can sometimes lead to degeneration of vegetation, while systems supporting migrants are apparently more resilient. This implies that migration can have an important impact on the long-term persistence of plant-herbivore systems, particularly in areas with slow rates of vegetation regeneration. Copyright © 1988. Published by Elsevier Ltd.
This article was published in Trends Ecol Evol
and referenced in Poultry, Fisheries & Wildlife Sciences