Plant Herbivore Interactions at the Forest Edge

  • Rainer Wirth
  • Sebastian T. Meyer
  • Inara R. Leal
  • Marcelo Tabarelli
Part of the Progress in Botany book series (BOTANY, volume 69)

An ever-increasing proportion of the global forested landscape is in close proximity to edges and edge effects have been shown to represent key forces affecting both organisms and ecological processes. Despite increasing recognition of edge effects on species interactions, a systematic review devoted to plantherbivore interactions along forest edges has not yet been performed. Here we synthesize published research attempting to detect patterns of herbivore densities and herbivory at forest edges, identify the underlying mechanisms generating these patterns, and explore their potential impacts for the forest edge as an ecosystem. Key conclusions are that herbivores, especially generalists, profoundly benefit from forest edges, often due to favourable microenvironmental conditions, an edge-induced increase in food quantity/quality, and (less well documented) disrupted top-down regulation of herbivores. Finally, we present evidence and causal explanations that edge-associated herbivores, via a range of direct and indirect impacts, may alter species interactions, delay successional processes at the edge, and amplify the often human-induced changes on forest biota.


Edge Effect Forest Edge Forest Fragment Forest Interior Ecol Manage 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Rainer Wirth
    • 1
  • Sebastian T. Meyer
    • 1
  • Inara R. Leal
    • 2
  • Marcelo Tabarelli
    • 2
  1. 1.Plant Ecology & SystematicsUniversity of KaiserslauternKaiserslauternGermany
  2. 2.Departamento de BotânicaUniversidade Federal de PernambucoPernambucoBrasil

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