Thursday, November 16, 2006 - 8:15 AM

Effects of Wild Boars on Ecosystem Processes in Deciduous Forests.

Anita Risch1, Martin Schütz1, Beat Frey1, Deborah Page-Dumroese2, Matt Busse3, and Martin Jurgensen4. (1) Swiss Federal Institute for Forest, Snow and Landscape Research, Zuercherstrasse 111, Birmensdorf, 8903, Switzerland, (2) Rocky Mountain Research Statio, 1221 S Main, Moscow, ID 83843, (3) USDA Forest Service, 3644 Avtech Pkwy, Redding, CA 96002, (4) Michigan Tech Univ, 1400 Townsend Dr, Houghton, MI 49931

With the recent increase in wild boar (Sus scrofa L.) populations in northern parts of Switzerland, reports of wild boar grubbing events in forests and agricultural fields became much more frequent. While the economical damage of these events has been discussed intensively, little attention has been given on how wild boar grubbing affects forest ecosystem processes. However, grubbing by wild boars incorporates the forest floor into the mineral soil, which could significantly alter forest soil properties (physical, chemical and biological). This could not only affect carbon (C) and nutrient fluxes and stores, but also forest productivity and stand regeneration. The objectives of this study are to assess how wild boar grubbing effects soil physical (soil bulk density, pH), chemical and biological (microbial biomass, activity and composition) properties in deciduous forest stands, with a special emphasis on patterns and processes related to the C and nitrogen cycle. Preliminary data show that boar grubbing leads to lower bulk density, and mineral soil C content, but higher microbial diversity and biomass.