Behavioral Education for Human, Animal, Vegetation, and Ecosystem Management (BEHAVE)


Foraging by Herbivores: Linking the Biochemical Diversity of Plants to Herbivore Culture and Landscape Diversity

Document Type

Book Chapter

Journal/Book Title/Conference

Landscape Ecology and Resource Management: Linking Theory with Practice


John A. Bisonette & Ilse Storch


Island Press

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First Page


Last Page



The importance of biological diversity in ecosystem function and stability has been known for more than a century, but the topic is still controversial (Kaiser 2000). Despite the importance of diversity in ecological theory, little is known about the biochemical links between herbivores and plant diversity. These relationships are critical for natural and managed ecosystems, land reclamation, ecosystem restoration, and conservation biology. Basic ecological processes and ecosystem management are governed by the interactions between plant biochemical diversity and herbivory.

The influence of herbivores on plant diversity has attracted more attention than have the biochemical interactions between plants and herbivores (Landsberg et al. 1999). The biotic-abiotic interactions by which herbivores affect plant diversity include the time of grazing, the kinds and abundances of plants and herbivores, and the availability of moisture, nutrients, and light (Milchunas et al. 1988). These interactions have been studied in grasslands (Olff and Ritchie 1998) and woodlands (Bryant et al. 1983a, 1991b, 1992). Understanding relationships between plant biochemical diversity and herbivores can help conceptualize basic ecological processes and management options.


Originally published by Island Press. Limited preview available through remote link. Chapter fulltext not available online.