Lutra 50(1)_Bakker_book review_2007

Book review: Rabbits, refuges and resources

Rabbits, refuges and resources. How foraging of herbivores is affected by living in burrows. J.J.A. Dekker 2007. PhD thesis. Wageningen University, Wageningen, The Netherlands. 144 pp. ISBN 90-8504-611-4.

When walking in the dunes or other areas with a lot of rabbits you will probably notice variations in rabbit grazing intensity: closer to the rabbit burrows there are very short lawns with abundant rabbit droppings, whereas further away the vegetation gets taller with only a few droppings. This is a typical pattern found for herbivores which forage from burrows: a group referred to as “central-place foragers”. European rabbits are a good example of this category of, mostly smaller, herbivores. Such species occur all over the world and include: American pikas living in the Rocky Mountains, Daurian pikas on the Asian steppes, hoary marmots in the alpine zone of North-America, rock hyraxes on African savannas and prairie dogs on the North-American prairie. These herbivores share the common feature of living in refuges, mostly burrows, from which they forage. Jasja Dekker’s thesis explores the factors that shape the spatial patterns of foraging activity amongst central-place foraging herbivores....