Bare Zone between California Shrub and Grassland Communities: The Role of Animals

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Science  11 Dec 1970:
Vol. 170, Issue 3963, pp. 1210-1212
DOI: 10.1126/science.170.3963.1210


Between shrub and grass communities in coastal California there is a zone that is normally bare of vegetation. Previous studies have emphasized the role of volatile inhibitors of plant growth in producing this bare zone. However, there is a concentration of feeding activity by rodents, rabbits, and birds in this zone; if this activity is prevented by means of wire-mesh exclosures, annuals grow in the bare zone. Thus, animal activity is sufficient to produce the bare zone.

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