Faecal nutrient deposition of domestic and wild herbivores in an alpine grassland

In this work, we have revealed the potential contribution of herbivores to ecosystem nutrient fluxes through dung deposition. Dung deposition is particularly important in nutrient-limited ecosystems such as alpine systems. However, herbivore dung content (carbon, C; nitrogen, N; phosphorus, P; potassium, K) and stoichiometry (C/N) may differ among species due to differences in diet, seasonality, body type, feeding strategy, and/or digestive system with consequences for soil biogeochemistry. On the other hand, there is a strong seasonal pattern in faecal nutrient deposition related to diet composition, particularly grass feeding. The lack of livestock practices in our Alpine mountains would have a great impact on soil nutrients, plant dynamics, and finally ecosystem integrity.