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Mammalia

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Volume 82, Issue 2

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Impact of European wild rabbits foraging in different habitat and vegetation types in an insular environment

Vasileios J. Kontsiotis
  • Corresponding author
  • Department of Range Sciences, Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries, School of Forestry and Natural Environment, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, P.O. Box 241, Thessaloniki 54124, Greece
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/ Dimitrios E. Bakaloudis
  • Department of Range Sciences, Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries, School of Forestry and Natural Environment, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, P.O. Box 241, Thessaloniki 54124, Greece
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/ Vasilios Liordos
  • Department of Forestry and Management of Natural Environment, Eastern Macedonia and Thrace Institute of Technology, P.O. Box 172, Drama 66100, Greece
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Published Online: 2017-04-19 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/mammalia-2016-0132

Abstract

European wild rabbits (Oryctolagus cuniculus) are prolific herbivores, affecting natural and agricultural ecosystems. We installed 10 experimental units, each consisting of two fenced plots, one excluding all herbivores and one allowing rabbit access only, to estimate the impact of rabbit grazing in three vegetation types occurring in two dominant habitat types on Lemnos Island, Greece. Plant productivity was significantly higher in barley crops than on both fallow land and Mediterranean scrublands. Rabbit grazing caused significant reduction of productivity in barley crops and Mediterranean scrublands, but not on fallow land. Selective feeding and seasonal food availability may have shaped patterns of rabbit impact.

Keywords: agricultural crops; Mediterranean scrubland; Oryctolagus cuniculus; vegetation damage; vertebrate pest

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About the article

Received: 2016-09-07

Accepted: 2017-03-23

Published Online: 2017-04-19

Published in Print: 2018-02-23


Citation Information: Mammalia, Volume 82, Issue 2, Pages 193–196, ISSN (Online) 1864-1547, ISSN (Print) 0025-1461, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/mammalia-2016-0132.

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