The impact of recent volcanic ash depositions on herbivores in Patagonia: a review

Flueck, Werner T.. (2016) The impact of recent volcanic ash depositions on herbivores in Patagonia: a review. The Rangeland Journal, 38. pp. 27-34.

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Official URL: https://edoc.unibas.ch/65432/

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Volcanic tephra (ejected solids) result in varied impacts on ecosystems and livestock production. The recent Puyehue (2011) and Calbuco (2015) eruptions deposited large amounts of tephra in Chile and Argentina, affecting both livestock and wildlife in several ways. Impacts from Puyehue tephra on livestock were attributed initially  solely to inanition, rumen blockage, eye problems, increased mechanical tooth wear; water consumption was considered without risk for humans and animals; and toxic effects were discarded. Subsequently, wildlife exhibited pronounced clinical signs of fluorosis and bone level exceeding 10 000 ppm of fluoride by 2014. Livestock  including horses, cattle and sheep also had high levels of bone fluorine and clinical fluorosis. Tephra from Calbuco and Puyehue now overlap, containing on average 548 and 352 ppm fluoride, respectively. Dryness and eolic redeposition of tephra particularly east of the continental divide continues to re-expose domestic and wild ruminants. However, fluorosis and other related impacts like hypothyroidism, anaemia, and eosinophilia in ruminants also impact wool production. Although  fluoride was discarded by others as a cause for the observed reduction in wool production, the specific effect of fluorosis on reducing wool production is well recognised, and occurs in sheep with less bone fluoride than reported from the Puyehue event. The rapid accumulation of fluoride in herbivores exposed to tephra from Puyehue coincides with reports that upon exposure to fluoride, sheep bone levels increased from 160 to 2300 ppm in only 3 months. The susceptibility of ruminants to fluorosis resides in their food processing: (1) intensive mastication and tephra size reduction, (2) thorough mixing of tephra with alkaline saliva during repeated rumination cycles, (3) water-soluble extraction in the rumen, and (4) extraction in the acidic abomasum. Lastly, the fluorosis may be further exacerbated by regional iodine and selenium deficiencies. Iodine deficiency may increase the incidence of dental fluorosis and the severity of damage, whereas selenium deficiency causes secondary iodine deficiency.Ash depositions from the Puyehue (2011) and  Calbuco (2015) volcanic eruptions may cause havoc for wild and domestic animals and the people dependent on them. The negative impact on sheep wool production was thought to be related to reduced forage and tooth wear, but as shown here, there was also a major effect from fluoride intoxication. The recognition of toxic effects such as fluorosis have a strong bearing on diagnosing the types of impacts and selecting appropriate remedy measures aimed at reducing the impacts.
Faculties and Departments:09 Associated Institutions > Swiss Tropical and Public Health Institute (Swiss TPH)
UniBasel Contributors:Flück, Werner
Item Type:Article, refereed
Article Subtype:Research Article
Publisher:CSIRO Publishing
Note:Publication type according to Uni Basel Research Database: Journal article
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edoc DOI:
Last Modified:17 Oct 2018 08:14
Deposited On:05 Oct 2018 12:32

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