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Animal Biodiversity and Conservation. Volume 36.1 (2013) Pages: 37-46

The competitor release effect applied to carnivore species: how red foxes can increase in numbers when persecuted

Lozano, J., Casanovas, J. G., Virgós, E., Zorrilla, J. M.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.32800/abc.2013.36.0037

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Abstract

The objective of our study was to numerically simulate the population dynamics of a hypothetical community of three species of small to medium–sized carnivores subjected to non–selective control within the context of the competitor release effect (CRE). We applied the CRE to three carnivore species, linking interspecific competition with predator control efforts. We predicted the population response of European badger, the red fox and the pine marten to this wildlife management tool by means of numerical simulations. The theoretical responses differed depending on the intrinsic rate of growth (r), although modulated by the competition coefficients. The red fox, showing the highest r value, can increase its populations despite predator control efforts if control intensity is moderate. Populations of the other two species, however, decreased with control efforts, even reaching extinction. Three additional theoretical predictions were obtained. The conclusions from the simulations were: 1) predator control can play a role in altering the carnivore communities; 2) red fox numbers can increase due to control; and 3) predator control programs should evaluate the potential of unintended effects on ecosystems.

Keywords

Predator control, Wildlife management, Competition, Generalist predator, Non–linear dynamic, Population growth

Cite

Lozano, J., Casanovas, J. G., Virgós, E., Zorrilla, J. M., 2013. The competitor release effect applied to carnivore species: how red foxes can increase in numbers when persecuted. Animal Biodiversity and Conservation, 36: 37-46, DOI: https://doi.org/10.32800/abc.2013.36.0037

Reception date:

03/04/2012

Acceptation date:

08/01/2013

Publication date:

28/05/2013

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