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de Beer, Y., Kilian, W., Versfeld, W. and van Aarde, R.J. 2006. Elephants and low rainfall alter woody vegetation in Etosha National Park, Namibia. Journal of Arid Environments, 64: 412-421


Description:

Our study emphasizes the importance of studying interactions between animals, plants and water before supplementing water sources as a management action.

Summary / Notes:

Elephants, the distribution of water sources and below-average rainfall may threaten the survival of woody plants in Etosha National Park, Namibia. We base our assessment of such interactions on the satellite tracking of six elephant herds following a 17-year record of fixed-point photographs. These showed that woody plant survival increased and spatial use by elephants decreased at greater distances from water sources. We conclude, therefore, that elephants may be an important factor in reducing woody plant survival. The low rainfall typical of our study period may also have limited survival. A continued decline in vegetation, aggravated by elephants, could compromise local conservation efforts. Keywords: Loxodonta africana; fixed-point photographs; rainfall; survival; water augmentation.

Year: 2006

Type: Journal Article

URL: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0140196305001527


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