Advanced Search
MyIDEAS: Login

Biotic Translocation of Phosphorus: The Role of Deer in Protected Areas

Contents:

Author Info

  • Werner T. Flueck

    ()
    (CONICET (National Council for Scientific Research), C.C. 176, 8400 Bariloche, Argentina
    Instituto de Análisis de Recursos Naturales, Universidad Atlántida, 7600 Mar del Plata, Argentina
    Swiss Tropical Institute, University Basel, 4002 Basel, Switzerland)

Registered author(s):

    Abstract

    Biogeochemical cycles are cornerstones of biological evolution. Mature terrestrial ecosystems efficiently trap nutrients and certain ones are largely recycled internally. Preserving natural fluxes of nutrients is an important mission of protected areas, but artificially leaky systems remain common. Native red deer (Cervus elaphus) in the Swiss National Park (SNP) are known to reduce phosphorus (P) in preferred feeding sites by removing more P than is returned with feces. At larger scales it becomes apparent that losses are occurring due to seasonal deer movements out of the SNP where most deer end up perishing. Thus, the SNP contributes to producing deer which translocate P to sink areas outside the SNP due to several artificial factors. An adult female dying outside of SNP exports about 1.8 kg of P, whereas a male dying outside of SNP at 8 years of age exports 7.2 kg of P due also to annual shedding of antlers. Averaged over the vegetated part of the SNP, the about 2,000 deer export 0.32 kg/ha/yr of P. Other ungulate species using the SNP and dying principally outside of its borders would result in additional exports of P. Leakiness in this case is induced by: a) absence of the predator community and thus a lack of summer mortalities and absence of several relevant non-lethal predator effects, b) hunting-accelerated population turnover rate, and c) deaths outside of SNP principally from hunting. The estimated export rate for P compares to rates measured in extensive production systems which receive 10-50 kg/ha/yr of P as fertilizer to compensate the losses from biomass exports. Assumptions were made regarding red deer body weight or population turnover rate, yet substituting my estimates with actual values from the SNP would only affect somewhat the magnitude of the effect, but not its direction. The rate of P loss is a proxy for losses of other elements, the most critical ones being those not essential to autotrophs, but essential to heterotrophs. High deer turnover rates combined with accelerated biomass export warrants detailed mass balances of macro and micro nutrients, and studies of biogeochemical cycles in protected areas are essential if preserving natural processes is a mandate.

    Download Info

    If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
    File URL: http://www.mdpi.com/2071-1050/1/2/104/pdf
    Download Restriction: no

    File URL: http://www.mdpi.com/2071-1050/1/2/104/
    Download Restriction: no

    Bibliographic Info

    Article provided by MDPI, Open Access Journal in its journal Sustainability.

    Volume (Year): 1 (2009)
    Issue (Month): 2 (April)
    Pages: 104-119

    as in new window
    Handle: RePEc:gam:jsusta:v:1:y:2009:i:2:p:104-119:d:4612

    Contact details of provider:
    Web page: http://www.mdpi.com/

    Related research

    Keywords: Cervus elaphus; Phosphorus; Biogeochemical cycle; Protected areas; Biomass export;

    Find related papers by JEL classification:

    References

    No references listed on IDEAS
    You can help add them by filling out this form.

    Citations

    Lists

    This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:gam:jsusta:v:1:y:2009:i:2:p:104-119:d:4612. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (XML Conversion Team).

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

    If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.