Ungulates as forest engineers

Wild ungulates are known to be keystone species and forest engineers as they can modify the environment through browsing, trampling and fraying. However, on the northern hemisphere ungulates are expanding in range and density due to abandonment of agricultural fields, reduced competition with other animals and absence of top predators, creating a great pressure on natural systems.

With a newtork of animal exclosures, camera traps, laser scanners and decomposition bags, we aim to understand the effects of wild ungulates on forest structure, composition and functioning. To achieve this, we are actively monitoring the forest across the Veluwe region with the support of different stakeholders.

Our results will not only provide additional understanding of animal plant interactions in temperate forests but will be essential for designing accurate and effective policies that help conserve temperate forests and its biodiversity.

MSc thesis topics