MAY 06, 2015 06:45 AM PDT

When Plant Eaters Decline, the Landscape Suffers

Where have all the animals gone?
Zebras are among 74 declining species studied. The decline of these animals puts more landscapes in danger than previously known.
A team of wildlife experts, lead by William Ripple of Oregon State University has published the findings of a study that could spell disaster for forests, grasslands and even deserts. Looking at 74 different large herbivores, the team paints a dismal picture that could result from the decline of certain species like zebras, rhinos, camels and elephants.

Similar research in 1992 warned of the dangers to forests when species dwindled, but Ripple's study goes beyond that. In a statement issued by the University of Oregon, he states "Our analysis shows that it goes well beyond forest landscapes," he said, "to savannahs and grasslands and deserts. So we coin a new term, the empty landscape."

The results of the study are published in the open-access online journal Science Advances

(Source: University of Oregon, Science Daily)
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