In this paper, we provide comparative examples of endangered plant communities to demonstrate that, contrary to the intermediate disturbance hypothesis, any positive effect of deer on plant diversity on islands in the Pacific north-west of North America occurs at densities < 0.08 ha, if at all. This detailed example of trophic downgrading highlights the need and provides the methods to identify herbivore densities compatible with the persistence of all native species in conserved landscapes.
Arcese, P., Schuster, R., Campbell, L., Barber, A., Martin, T.G. 2014. Deer density and plant palatability predict shrub cover, richness, diversity and aboriginal food value in a North American archipelago. Diversity & Distributions. 12:1368-1378 DOI: 10.1111/ddi.12241 PDF