Relationship between nutrient availability and requirements and the effects of herbivores

The relationship between nutrient availability from the vegetation and the nutrient requirement of herbivores living in the same bioce-nose depends not only on the floral composition of the vegetation, but also on the types of herbivores and their numbers and on many other factors. This already complex interac tion is further complicated as herbivores have other influences on plants and their environment in addition to consuming (phyto)bio-mass and the input of dung. Interactions are shown in a table, amended from Holtmeier (1999).

Nutrient availability (vegetation)

amount and quantity depends on:

• composition

• structure (age distribution, layering)

• phase of succession

• time of year (phenological development)

• productivity

• regeneration (seeds, reproduction, vegetative)

• nutrient content

• digestibility (digestion of raw protein, raw fibre, protein, cellulose, hemi-cellulose, lignin, cutin, silicic acid)

• mechanical protection

Nutrient availability depends on:

• number of individuals

• demographic structure

• type of nutrition (generalists, specialists)

• rearing young

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