Few animals eat Bracken fern, however, White Tailed Deer have been known to graze on plant. Bracken fern thrives in the pastures of Ecuador. These pastures have been created for cattle. Once Bracken fern invades the pasture the farmers move onto different land leaving the pastures to the bracken fern. When the Bracken fern becomes dominate in the pasture it disturbs the soil microorganisms. This causes a decrease in both the quantity and quality of soil. One of the ways to control Bracken fern is through slashing and burning. However, when the soil Cows grazing is fertilized with alkaline ashes this changes the pH. Calcium, magnesium, aluminum, iron, and zinc are all compromised when the pH changes. Bracken fern is very adaptable and can grow easily, however, many native plants are not like this. Changes in pH drives out competitive plants.

Why do farmers leave once the pasture has been invaded by Bracken fern? In England researches discovered the negative interaction between bracken fern and grazing animals. The English country side is full of Bracken fern. Ptalquiloside is the toxin found in Bracken fern. This toxin was found in the meat and milk of cows that had been grazing in pastures of Bracken fern. This is a huge problem for the farmers because if they stay in the pastures the products from their cows can cause cancer. 

To learn a little bit more about Bracken ferns and their relationships click here.

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