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Price: $154.00

Hardback 544 pp.
178 line illus & maps, mm x mm



Publication date:
March 2001

Imprint: OUP US

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Ecosystem Dynamics of the Boreal Forest

The Kluane Project

Edited by Charles J. Krebs, Stan Boutin and Rudy Boonstra

The boreal forest is one of the world's great ecosystems, stretching across North America and Eurasia in an unbroken band and containing about 25% of the world's closed canopy forests. The Kluane Boreal Forest Ecosystem Project was a 10-year study by nine of Canada's leading ecologists to unravel the impact of the snowshoe hare cycle on the plants and the other vertebrate species in the boreal forest. In much of the boreal forest, the snowshoe hare acts as a keystone herbivore, fluctuating in 9-10 year cycles, and dragging along secondary cycles in predators such as lynx and great-horned owls. By manipulating the ecosystem on a large scale from the bottom via fertilizer additions and from the top by predator exclosures, they have traced the plant-herbivore relationships and the predator-prey relationships in this ecosystem to try to answer the question of what drives small mammal population cycles. This study is unique in being large scale and experimental on a relatively simple ecosystem, with the overall goal of defining what determines community structure in the boreal forest.
Ecosystem Dynamics of the Boreal Forest: The Kluane Project summarizes these findings, weaving new discoveries of the role of herbivores-turned-predators, compensatory plant growth, and predators-eating-predators with an ecological story rich in details and clear in its findings of a community where predation plays a key role in determining the fate of individuals and populations. The study of the Kluane boreal forest raises key questions about the scale of conservation required for boreal forest communities and the many mammals and birds that live there.


  • "The book is impressive in giving a clear insight into the workings of the forest. But what sets it apart as an educational tool is its candid nature and the CD-ROM that comes with the book. The author presents their research with all the problems and mistakes make left in, giving a realistic view of the frustrations and practicalities of research which will be especially useful for those thinking on embarking on such a career. . .The CD is thus not a dry reservoir of data but a useful tool for sharing the delight and excitement of research."--Bulletin of the Brttish Ecological Society
  • "This book is chock-a-block full of new data and natural history observations that help us to appreciate the complexity of ecological interactions associated with the lynx-hare cycle. . .One senses that this book was written for the benefit of students. And it is excellent fodder for students containing many untested hypotheses, fascinating accounts of difficulties encountered during the various studies, and details that would be unlikely to make it to the peer-reviewed journal literature."--Ecology
  • "This interesting and well presented study looked at the factors that determine the community structure in the boreal forest. . . . The authors ought to be commended for their painstaking study and effort covering about 25 years of research work that addresses topics of importance to the conservation of boreal forests."--International Journal of Environmental Studies
  • "Just as every picture tells a story, so too does every scientific project. This book is the story of the Kluane Boreal Forest Ecosystem Project, told brilliantly by the researchers who toiled for ten years from 1986 to uncover the drama and complexity of this Canadian ecosystem. ... This type of project is ... exactly what is needed to enable ecologists to help politicians manage the biological diversity of the Earth when faced with a growing population ... Before the Kluane Project we had no role model--now we have one."--Nature

1. Charles J. Krebs: General Introduction
2. Charles J. Krebs and Rudy Boonstra: The Kluane Region
3. A.R.E. Sinclair and Charles J. Krebs: Trophic Interactions, Community Organizations, and the Kluane Ecosystem
4. Stan Boutin et al: Experimental Design and Practical Problems of Implementation
5. Roy Turkington et al: Herbs and Grasses
6. Charles Krebs et al: Shrubs
7. Mark R. T. Dale et al: Trees
8. Snowshoe Hare Demography
9. Rudy Boonstra et al: The Role of Red Squirrels and Arctic Ground Squirrels
10. Rudy Boonstra: Voles Mice
11. Kathy Martin et al: Forest Grouse and Ptarmigan
12. James N. M. Smith and Nicholas F.G. Folkard: Other Herbivores and Small Predators: Arthropods, Birds, and Mammals
13. Mark O'Donoghue et al: Coyotes and Lynx
14. Mark O'Donoghue et al: Other Mammalian Predators
15. Christoph Rohner et al: Great Horned Owls
16. Frank I. Doyle and James N.M. Smith: Raptors and Scavengers
17. A.R.E. Sinclair: Testing Hypotheses of Community Organization for Kluane Ecosystem
18. David Choquenot et al: Vertebrate Community Structure in the Boreal Forest: Modeling the Effects of Trophic Interaction
19. Jennifer L. Ruesink: Trphic Mass Flow Models of the Kluane Boreal Forest Ecosystem
20. Charles J. Krebs et al: Conclusions and Future Directions
Appendix 1
Appendix 2

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Charles J. Krebs is at University of British Columbia, Vancouver. Stan Boutin is at University of Alberta, Edmonton.

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