HOWL Colorado

Researchers Say Wolves Help Plants By Eating Deer, Elk

Researchers at Oregon State University say they have more evidence wolves help keep deer and elk populations in check, to the benefit of many plant species.An analysis of 42 past studies from across North America, Asia, and Europe suggests that wolves play a key role in limiting the size of elk, deer and moose populations.

The paper, published by Oregon State University researchers in the European Journal of Wildlife Research, found that relatively pristine areas where wolves had been exterminated had six times as many grazing herbivores as the study areas where wolves were still present.

Bill Ripple, an ecologist at Oregon State University and one of the paper’s authors, studies trophic cascades: the links between predators, prey populations like deer and elk, and the plants those prey species snack on.

Read the entire article on earthfix.opb.org: Researchers say wolves help plants by eating deer, elk

VIDEO: (An Oregon State University-produced video on Ripple’s research findings.)

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