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Defaunation is a process in an ecosystem, during which top predators and herbivores are declining due to anthropogenic pressures, resulting in a lack of agents that control the components of the ecosystem's vegetation. Herbivores are important for maintaining the biodiversity of a forest by controlling the abundance of plant species and seed dispersal. Defaunation is a significant environmental change and conservation issue.[1][2]

One of the main drivers of defaunation is poaching.[3]

In animal sciences, the removal of protozoa from the rumen of ruminants is also called defaunation. Defaunated rumen fluid affects the ruminal volume, nitrogen flow and digestibility of organic matter and cell wall carbohydrate.[4]


  1. ^ Dirzo, R. and A. Miranda (1990). Contemporary neotropical defaunation and forest structure, function, and diversity – A sequel to John Terborgh. Conservation Biology 4: 444–447.
  2. ^ Dirzo, R. and A. Miranda. (1991). Altered patterns of herbivory and diversity in the forest understory: a case study of the possible consequences of contemporary defaunation. in P. W. Price, T. W. Lewinsohn, W. M. Benson, and G. W. Fernandes (eds). Plant-animal interactions: evolutionary ecology in tropical and temperate regions. John Wiley & Sons, New York.
  3. ^ Redford, K. H. (1992). The empty forest. BioScience 42(6): 412–422.
  4. ^ Eugène, M., Archimède, H. and Sauvant, D. (2004). Quantitative meta-analysis on the effects of defaunation of the rumen on growth, intake and digestion in ruminants. Livestock Production Science 85(1): 81–97.

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