Lethal interactions among forest-grouse predators are numerous, motivated by hunger and carcasses, and their impacts determined by the demographic value of the victims

Cristian David Navarro Waggershauser, Lise Ruffino, Kenny Kortland, Xavier Lambin* (Corresponding Author)

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

New vertebrate communities are emerging in Europe following the recovery of multiple native predators to highly anthropized landscapes where predator control is still prevalent. While the lack of reference points for these communities creates novel challenges for conservationists and wildlife managers, they also provide opportunities to further our understanding of species interactions. Despite a growing body of evidence, many aspects of interactions among predators remain poorly understood, impairing our ability to anticipate the effects of such changes in predator communities. Through a systematic literature review, we gathered all the available evidence concerning the existence, strength, and demographic impacts of lethal predator interactions among forest‐grouse predators in Europe. We found a highly interconnected predator community, with 44 pairwise lethal interactions among 12 taxa. Three of these resulted in some degree of population suppression of the victim, while another three did not. However, most interactions (38) have not been evaluated for population suppression. Additionally, we highlight how predators interact simultaneously with a large range of other predators and identified at least two further taxa possibly suppressed through the combined impacts of multiple predators. We propose that interactions causing demographic suppression are characterized by impacts on individuals with high survival elasticity and that they are motivated by food limitation and additionally, in mammals, by competition for carcasses. Predator interactions, and our still poor understanding of them, introduce large uncertainties to conservation actions based on the management of predator abundances, which should be carefully evaluated.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)7164-7186
Number of pages23
JournalEcology and Evolution
Volume11
Issue number12
Early online date2 May 2021
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2021

Keywords

  • killing
  • suppression
  • conservation
  • forest‐grouse
  • intraguild predation
  • predator interactions

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