|Title||Effects of subterranean herbivores on vegetation|
|Publication Type||Journal Article|
|Year of Publication||1994|
|Authors||Huntly, N, Reichman, OJ|
|Journal||Journal of Mammalogy|
|Keywords||burrows, diet, fossorial mammals|
Fossorial herbivores are common in Eurasia, North and South America, and Africa, particularly in arid and semiarid regions. There is ample evidence, although often indirect and semiquantitative, that they have local and broad-scale effects on vegetation. These effects arise from feeding, harvesting, and caching, local soil disturbances, and longer-term changes in soil structure and topography, many aspects of which are similar among the diversity of fossorial herbivores. Often, the net effect of these animals' activities is alteration of composition of plant species and increased plant diversity. Standing crop of plants often is reduced, and long- and short-term changes in productivity can occur. Better understanding of the rules that govern diet selection and burrow size, dynamics, and geometry are needed to predict effects of these animals under specific environmental conditions.