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I have not been able to find any definition of differential consumption online. What does it mean in this quotation?

Vertebrates can influence natural fire regimes in several ways. First, herbivores limit fuel quantity by consuming and recy- cling plant matter that would otherwise accumulate as litter, and by reducing the density of vegetation [3]. Second, differential consumption of plant growth forms can enforce changes in the composition of vegetation and thereby alter the type and arrangement of fuel. Third, herbivory can gen- erate large-scale habitat heterogeneity, as a result of variation in herbivore activity in response to factors such as terrain and water availability [3,11], and this can mean that zones of low and high flammability are interspersed in arrangements that could impede the spread of landscape fires. Finally, herbivores and other animals may alter the abiotic environment in ways that affect flammability: by forming trails, dust-baths or leks, large animals create lines or patches of bare ground that can act as fire breaks, while some species forage by turning over or digging through the litter layer and surface soils, and in the process bury fine fuels and thus reduce fuel loads. In the sections below, we explore the evidence supporting these effects of herbivores on fuel and fire regimes, in the past and present.

Johnson, Christopher N., et al. “Can Trophic Rewilding Reduce the Impact of Fire in a More Flammable World?” Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, vol. 373, no. 1761, Dec. 2018, doi:10.1098/rstb.2017.0443

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closed as off-topic by Remi.b, David, AliceD Jan 9 at 20:23

This question appears to be off-topic. The users who voted to close gave this specific reason:

  • "Homework questions are off-topic on Biology unless you have shown your attempt at an answer. For more information see our homework policy." – AliceD
If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

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    $\begingroup$ Welcome to SE Biology. I am afraid we cannot answer this question unless you provide us with the context in which you met this term, which might relate to anything from shoppers to livestock. We need a full quotation and source. See the section of our Help entitled Be Specific. $\endgroup$ – David Jan 7 at 17:48
  • $\begingroup$ A differential consumption is a difference between two consumption levels. This is all one can tell without a direct quote and a context. I am VTC as unclear. $\endgroup$ – Remi.b Jan 7 at 20:08
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    $\begingroup$ Thanks for editing your question. It’s allowed @BryanKrause to give you an answer. $\endgroup$ – David Jan 8 at 23:28
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Second, differential consumption of plant growth forms can enforce changes in the composition of vegetation and thereby alter the type and arrangement of fuel.

This sentence means that herbivores eat more of certain plant growth forms than others. "Differential consumption" just means "different consumption." This can be important in the context of fire risk because herbivores will tend to not eat certain types of plant biomass, such as full-grown trees, but will eat new growth, grasses, etc (therefore the total amount of fuel by type is different).

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