Numerical response of predators to large variations of grassland vole abundance and long‐term community changes - Archive ouverte HAL Access content directly
Journal Articles Ecology and Evolution Year : 2020

Numerical response of predators to large variations of grassland vole abundance and long‐term community changes

Abstract

Voles can reach high densities with multiannual population fluctuations of large amplitude, and they are at the base of predator communities in Northern Eurasia and Northern America. This status places them at the heart of management conflicts wherein crop protection and health concerns are often raised against conservation issues. Here, a 20‐year survey describes the effects of large variations in grassland vole populations on the densities and the daily theoretical food intakes (TFI) of vole predators based on roadside counts. Our results show how the predator community responded to prey variations of large amplitude and how it reorganized with the increase in a dominant predator, here the red fox, which likely negatively impacted hare, European wildcat, and domestic cat populations. This population increase did not lead to an increase in the average number of predators present in the study area, suggesting compensations among resident species due to intraguild predation or competition. Large variations in vole predator number could be clearly attributed to the temporary increase in the populations of mobile birds of prey in response to grassland vole outbreaks. Our study provides empirical support for more timely and better focused actions in wildlife management and vole population control, and it supports an evidence‐based and constructive dialogue about management targets and options between all stakeholders of such socio‐ecosystems.

Dates and versions

hal-03011763 , version 1 (18-11-2020)

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Patrick Giraudoux, Aurélien Levret, Eve Afonso, Michael Coeurdassier, Geoffroy Couval. Numerical response of predators to large variations of grassland vole abundance and long‐term community changes. Ecology and Evolution, 2020, 10 (24), pp.14221-14246. ⟨10.1002/ece3.7020⟩. ⟨hal-03011763⟩
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