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      Short-term plant-community responses to large mammalian herbivore exclusion in a rewilded Javan savanna

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          Abstract

          Grassy biomes such as savannas are maintained by an interacting suite of ecosystem processes from herbivory to rainfall to fire. Many studies have examined the impacts of large mammalian herbivores on herbaceous plant communities, but few of these studies have been conducted in humid, fertile savannas. We present the findings of a short-term experiment that investigated the effects of herbivory in a fertile, humid, and semi-managed savanna. We erected large-herbivore exclosures in Alas Purwo National Park, Java, Indonesia where rainfall is high and fire is suppressed to test how herbivores impact plant community development across the growing season. Where large mammalian herbivores were excluded, herbaceous plant communities contained more non-grasses and were less similar; diverging in their composition as the growing season progressed. Effects of herbivore exclusion on plant species richness, evenness, and biomass per quadrat were generally weak. Notably, however, two weedy plant species (one native, Imperata cylindrica and one introduced, Senna cf. tora) appeared to benefit most from herbivore release. Our results suggest that heavy grazing pressure by native large mammalian herbivores controlled the composition of the herbaceous plant community. Moreover, exclusion of large mammalian herbivores led to divergence in the plant species composition of exclosures; compositional dissimilarity between herbivore-exclusion plots was higher than between plots exposed to large mammalian herbivores. Our findings suggest that, at this high-rainfall site, large mammalian herbivores constrained the developmental trajectory of plant communities across the growing season.

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          A Generalized Model of the Effects of Grazing by Large Herbivores on Grassland Community Structure

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            Effects of herbivores on grassland plant diversity

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              Historical Contingency in Community Assembly: Integrating Niches, Species Pools, and Priority Effects

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                Author and article information

                Contributors
                Role: ConceptualizationRole: Data curationRole: Formal analysisRole: Funding acquisitionRole: InvestigationRole: MethodologyRole: Project administrationRole: ResourcesRole: ValidationRole: VisualizationRole: Writing – original draftRole: Writing – review & editing
                Role: ConceptualizationRole: MethodologyRole: Writing – review & editing
                Role: ConceptualizationRole: Project administrationRole: ResourcesRole: SupervisionRole: Writing – review & editing
                Role: MethodologyRole: VisualizationRole: Writing – original draftRole: Writing – review & editing
                Role: Editor
                Journal
                PLoS One
                PLoS One
                plos
                PLoS ONE
                Public Library of Science (San Francisco, CA USA )
                1932-6203
                22 July 2021
                2021
                : 16
                : 7
                : e0255056
                Affiliations
                [1 ] Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, Princeton University, Princeton, New Jersey, United States of America
                [2 ] Wildlife Laboratory, Faculty of Forestry, Universitas Gadjah Mada, Yogyakarta, Indonesia
                Estacion Experimental de Zonas Aridas, SPAIN
                Author notes

                Competing Interests: The authors have declared that no competing interests exist.

                Author information
                https://orcid.org/0000-0002-2423-4026
                Article
                PONE-D-21-01580
                10.1371/journal.pone.0255056
                8297766
                34293065
                259b6f86-28e4-45b9-bbf5-9d127b778570
                © 2021 Potter et al

                This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

                History
                : 15 January 2021
                : 8 July 2021
                Page count
                Figures: 5, Tables: 0, Pages: 19
                Funding
                Funded by: Fulbright Program
                Award Recipient :
                ABP was funded by The Fulbright Program ( https://eca.state.gov/fulbright/). The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.
                Categories
                Research Article
                Biology and Life Sciences
                Ecology
                Plant Ecology
                Plant-Animal Interactions
                Herbivory
                Ecology and Environmental Sciences
                Ecology
                Plant Ecology
                Plant-Animal Interactions
                Herbivory
                Biology and Life Sciences
                Plant Science
                Plant Ecology
                Plant-Animal Interactions
                Herbivory
                Biology and Life Sciences
                Ecology
                Community Ecology
                Trophic Interactions
                Herbivory
                Ecology and Environmental Sciences
                Ecology
                Community Ecology
                Trophic Interactions
                Herbivory
                Biology and Life Sciences
                Ecology
                Plant Ecology
                Plant-Animal Interactions
                Plant-Herbivore Interactions
                Ecology and Environmental Sciences
                Ecology
                Plant Ecology
                Plant-Animal Interactions
                Plant-Herbivore Interactions
                Biology and Life Sciences
                Plant Science
                Plant Ecology
                Plant-Animal Interactions
                Plant-Herbivore Interactions
                Biology and Life Sciences
                Ecology
                Plant Ecology
                Plant Communities
                Ecology and Environmental Sciences
                Ecology
                Plant Ecology
                Plant Communities
                Biology and Life Sciences
                Plant Science
                Plant Ecology
                Plant Communities
                Biology and Life Sciences
                Organisms
                Eukaryota
                Plants
                Biology and Life Sciences
                Ecology
                Plant Ecology
                Plant Communities
                Grasslands
                Ecology and Environmental Sciences
                Ecology
                Plant Ecology
                Plant Communities
                Grasslands
                Biology and Life Sciences
                Plant Science
                Plant Ecology
                Plant Communities
                Grasslands
                Ecology and Environmental Sciences
                Terrestrial Environments
                Grasslands
                Biology and Life Sciences
                Psychology
                Behavior
                Animal Behavior
                Grazing
                Social Sciences
                Psychology
                Behavior
                Animal Behavior
                Grazing
                Biology and Life Sciences
                Zoology
                Animal Behavior
                Grazing
                Biology and Life Sciences
                Organisms
                Eukaryota
                Plants
                Grasses
                Ecology and Environmental Sciences
                Species Colonization
                Invasive Species
                Custom metadata
                All data files are available from Dryad ( https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.djh9w0w02).

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                Uncategorized

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