Frightened rabbits cause variation in the vegetation
As rabbits graze more thoroughly in the vicinity of the burrow, and as some plants can handle grazing better than others, patterns in the vegetation come into being. 'Rabbits make specific niches such as bare spots, where pioneer vegetation can grow', according to Dekker. 'I doubt large grazers are capable of accomplishing this.'
Cows and horses can help the rabbits, though. In many areas, rabbit populations barely recover from deadly rabbit diseases. Large grazers may be able to help. Dekker showed that a high density of large grazers in rugged areas resulted in a greater number of small herbivores, such as the rabbit. Small grazers suffer from the aging of the vegetation. Large herbivores graze the vegetation down again.' Jasja Dekker obtained his doctorate at Herbert Prins, professor of Resource Ecology.