Ecosystem breakdown more complex than just invasive species
By Summit Voice
FRISCO — Valiant weed warriors, who have made it their mission to try and eradicate non-native plants, may want to think about the bigger ecological picture as they plan their weekend weed pulls.
A new study led by the University of Pittsburgh’s Susan Kalisz suggests that, in some cases, invasive plants overwhelm native ecosystems because of an overpopulation of deer. The density of deer in the United States is about four to 10 times what it was prior to European settlement of North America. That density, Kalisz posits, is the main reason garlic mustard is crowding out native plants, such as trillium, which are preferred food for wild deer.
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