Skip to main content Accesibility Help
×
×
Home

Undetected species losses, food webs, and ecological baselines: a cautionary tale from the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem, USA

  • Joel Berger
Abstract

Large protected areas are often considered natural yet outside pressures may compromise ecological integrity. This paper points to a problem in assessing ecological baselines: what if species’ extirpations go undetected? I present a data set spanning 130 years that demonstrates the loss of white-tailed jack rabbits Lepus townsendii from two National Parks in the well studied 60,000 km2 Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem, USA. While these extirpations have been unnoticed until now, an ecological consequence may be elevated predation on juvenile ungulates. A critical challenge we face is how to apply better the concept of shifting baselines to the restoration of functional relationships when species' losses are undetected.

  • View HTML
    • Send article to Kindle

      To send this article to your Kindle, first ensure no-reply@cambridge.org is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part of your Kindle email address below. Find out more about sending to your Kindle. Find out more about sending to your Kindle.

      Note you can select to send to either the @free.kindle.com or @kindle.com variations. ‘@free.kindle.com’ emails are free but can only be sent to your device when it is connected to wi-fi. ‘@kindle.com’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.

      Find out more about the Kindle Personal Document Service.

      Undetected species losses, food webs, and ecological baselines: a cautionary tale from the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem, USA
      Available formats
      ×
      Send article to Dropbox

      To send this article to your Dropbox account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your <service> account. Find out more about sending content to Dropbox.

      Undetected species losses, food webs, and ecological baselines: a cautionary tale from the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem, USA
      Available formats
      ×
      Send article to Google Drive

      To send this article to your Google Drive account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your <service> account. Find out more about sending content to Google Drive.

      Undetected species losses, food webs, and ecological baselines: a cautionary tale from the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem, USA
      Available formats
      ×
Copyright
Corresponding author
1Northern Rockies Field Office, Wildlife Conservation Society and Division of Biological Sciences, University of Montana, Missoula, Montana 59812 USA. E-mail jberger@wcs.org
References
Hide All
Arcese, P. & Sinclair, A.R.E. (1997) The role of protected areas as ecological baselines. Journal of Wildlife Management, 61, 587602.
Barnosky, E.H. (1994) Ecosystem dynamics through the past 2000 years as revealed by fossil mammals from Lamar Cave in Yellowstone National Park, USA. Historical Biology, 8, 7190.
Berger, J. (1999) Anthropogenic extinction of top carnivores and interspecific animal behaviour: implications of rapid decoupling of a web involving wolves, bears, moose, and ravens. Proceedings of the Royal Society, 266, 22612267.
Berger, J., Berger, K.M., Brussard, P.F., Gibson, R., Rachlow, J. & Smith, A.T. (2006) Where Have all the Rabbits Gone? Wildlife Conservation Society, New York, USA [http://www.ualberta.ca/~dhik/lsg/White-tailed%20Jackrabbit%20Report.pdf, accessed 3 January 2008].
Berger, J., Stacey, P.B., Johnson, M.L. & Bellis, L. (2001) A mammalian predator-prey imbalance: grizzly bear and wolf extinction affects avian Neotropical migrants. Ecological Applications, 11, 947960.
Berger, K.M. (2006) Carnivore-livestock conflicts: effects of subsidized predator control and economic correlates on the sheep industry. Conservation Biology, 20, 751761.
Berger, K.M. (2007) Conservation implications of food webs involving wolves, coyotes, and pronghorn. PhD thesis, Utah State University, Logan, USA.
Brashares, J.S., Arcese, P. & Sam, M.K. (2001) Human demography and reserve design predict wildlife extinction in West Africa. Proceedings of the Royal Society, 268, 24732478.
Byers, J.A. (1997) American Pronghorn: Social Adaptations and Ghosts of Predators Past. University of Chicago Press, Chicago, USA.
Dayton, P.K., Tegner, M.J., Edwards, P.B. & Riser, K.L. (1998) Sliding baselines, ghosts, and reduced expectations in kelp forest communities. Ecological Applications, 8, 309322.
Gese, E., Ruff, M.R. & Crabtree, R.L. (1995) Intrinsic and extrinsic factors influencing coyote predation of small mammals in Yellowstone National Park. Canadian Journal of Zoology, 74, 784797.
Johnson, K.A. & Crabtree, R.L. (1999) Small prey of carnivores in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem. In Carnivores in Ecosystems: The Yellowstone Experience (eds Clark, T.W., Curlee, A.P., Minta, S.C. & Kareiva, P.M.), pp. 239263. Yale University Press, New Haven, USA.
Knowlton, F.F. & Stoddart, L.C. (1992) Some observations from two coyote-prey studies. In Ecology and Management of the Eastern Coyote (ed. Boer, A.), pp. 101121. Wildlife Research Unit, University of New Brunswick, Canada.
Ludlow, W. (1876) Report of a Reconnaissance from Carrol, Montana Territory, on the Upper Missouri to the Yellowstone National Park and Return Made in the Summer of 1875. Government Printing Office, Washington, DC, USA.
Moreno, S., Villafuerte, R., Cabezas, S. & Lombardi, L. (2004) Wild rabbit restocking for predator conservation in Spain. Biological Conservation, 118, 183193.
Murie, A. (1940) Ecology of the coyote in the Yellowstone. Fauna of the National Parks of the United States Bulletin, 4, 1206.
Murie, O. (1935) Food habits of the coyote in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. U.S. Department of Agriculture Bulletin, 362, 124.
Negus, N.C. & Findley, J.S. (1959) Mammals of Jackson Hole, Wyoming. Journal of Mammalogy, 40, 371381.
Newmark, W.D. (1995) Extinction of mammal populations in western North American national parks. Conservation Biology, 9, 512526.
Orians, G.H. (1997) Wolves, Bears, and their Prey in Alaska. National Academy of Sciences Press, Washington, DC, USA.
Pyare, S. & Berger, J. (2003) Beyond demography and delisting: ecological recovery for Yellowstone's grizzly bears and wolves. Biological Conservation, 113, 6373.
Reed, J.M. (1996) Using statistical probability to increase confidence of inferring species extinction. Conservation Biology, 10, 12831285.
Ripple, W.J., Larson, E.J., Renkin, R.A. & Smith, D.W. (2001) Trophic cascades among wolves, elk, and aspen on Yellowstone National Park's northern range. Biological Conservation, 102, 227234.
Roberts, D.L. & Kitchener, A.C. (2006) Inferring extinction from biological records: were we too quick to write off Miss Waldron's red colobus monkey (Pilocolobus badius waldronae)? Biological Conservation, 128, 285287.
Schullery, P. (1997) Searching for Yellowstone: Ecology and Wonder in the Last Wilderness. Houghton Mifflin, Boston, USA.
Sievers, J.D. (2004) Factors influencing a declining pronghorn population in Wind Cave National Park, South Dakota. MSc thesis, South Dakota State University, Brookings, USA.
Smith, B.L. & Anderson, S.H. (1996) Patterns of neonatal mortality of elk in Northwestern Wyoming. Canadian Journal of Zoology, 74, 12291237.
Smith, D.W., Peterson, R.O. & Houston, D.B. (2003) Yellowstone after wolves. BioScience, 53, 330340.
Soondas, A. (2004) Mumbai eyes pigs to keep off leopards. The Telegraph-Calcutta, 29 June [http://www.telegraphindia.com/1040629/asp/nation/story_3430738.asp, accessed 3 January 2008].
Stoddart, I.C., Griffiths, R.C. & Knowlton, F.F. (2001) Coyote responses to changing jackrabbit abundance affect sheep predation. Journal of Range Management, 54, 1520.
Weaver, J.L. (1977) Coyote food-base relationships in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. MSc thesis, Utah State University, Logan, USA.
Wigglesworth, R.R., McClennen, N., Anderson, S.H. & Wachob, D.G. (2001) Comparison of coyote diets between two areas of Jackson Hole, Wyoming. Intermountain Journal of Sciences, 6, 355366.
Wilson, E.O. (1986) The little things that run the world. Conservation Biology, 1, 344346.
Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

Oryx
  • ISSN: 0030-6053
  • EISSN: 1365-3008
  • URL: /core/journals/oryx
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *
×

Keywords

Type Description Title
PDF
Supplementary materials

Berger supplementary material
Appendix.pdf

 PDF (39 KB)
39 KB

Metrics

Altmetric attention score

Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between <date>. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Usage data cannot currently be displayed