Promotor: Prof.dr. G.R. de Snoo, Prof.dr. G.A. Persoon, Co-promotor: H.H. de Iongh
|Links||Thesis in Leiden Repository|
Carnivores are an important component of many ecological systems and they play a vital role in maintaining ecosystem health (Terborgh et al., 1999; Terborgh et al., 2002; Ray et al., 2005). Being at the top of the food chain, carnivores have important ecological impacts, such as the regulation of mesopredators and prey numbers present in an area (Terborgh et al., 1999). Important cascading trophic effects, caused by population changes of their prey or of sympatric mesopredators, may result when some of these large carnivores are extirpated from ecosystems. Unexpected effects of trophic cascades on various taxa and processes include changes to other vertebrates and herpetofaunal abundance or diversity. It could also have indirect effects and altered disease dynamics; carbon sequestration; modified stream morphology; and crop damage (Ray, 2005). Therefore, promoting tolerance and coexistence with large carnivores is a more crucial societal challenge now than ever before. The removal of top predators from ecosystems commonly results in dramatic changes in biodiversity and community structure, and as a result these areas can have severe consequences for the functioning of ecosystems (Berger et al., 2001; Terborgh et al., 1999).