Elephants and Savanna Woodland Ecosystems: A Study from Chobe National Park, Botswana

Elephants and Savanna Woodland Ecosystems: A Study from Chobe National Park, Botswana

Editor(s): Christina Skarpe, Johan T. du Toit, Stein R. Moe

Published Online: 4 APR 2014 08:35PM EST

Print ISBN: 9780470671764

Online ISBN: 9781118858615

DOI: 10.1002/9781118858615

About this Book

During the nineteenth century, ivory hunting caused a substantial decrease of elephant numbers in southern Africa. Soon after that, populations of many other large and medium-sized herbivores went into steep decline due to the rinderpest pandemic in the 1890s. These two events provided an opportunity for woodland establishment in areas previously intensively utilized by elephants and other herbivores. The return of elephants to currently protected areas of their former range has greatly influenced vegetation locally and the resulting potential negative effects on biodiversity are causing concern among stakeholders, managers, and scientists.

This book focuses on the ecological effects of the increasing elephant population in northern Botswana, presenting the importance of the elephants for the heterogeneity of the system, and showing that elephant ecology involves much wider spatiotemporal scales than was previously thought. Drawing on the results of their research, the authors discuss elephant-caused effects on vegetation in nutrient-rich and nutrient-poor savannas, and the potential competition between elephants on the one hand and browsers and mixed feeders on the other.

Ultimately this text provides a comprehensive review of ecological processes in African savannas, covering long-term ecosystem changes and human-wildlife conflicts. It summarises new knowledge on the ecology of the sub-humid African savanna ecosystems to advance the general functional understanding of savanna ecosystems across moisture and nutrient gradients.

Table of contents

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  1. Part I: The Chobe Ecosystems

  2. Part II: The Substrate

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    2. Chapter 4

      Historical Changes of Vegetation in the Chobe Area (pages 43–60)

      Christina Skarpe, Håkan Hytteborn, Stein R. Moe and Per Arild Aarrestad

    3. Chapter 5

      Vegetation: Between Soils and Herbivores (pages 61–88)

      Per Arild Aarrestad, Håkan Hytteborn, Gaseitsiwe Masunga and Christina Skarpe

  3. Part III: The Agent

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  4. Part IV: Controllers

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    2. Chapter 9

      Soil as Controller of and Responder to Elephant Activity (pages 135–153)

      Christina Skarpe, Gaseitsiwe Masunga, Per Arild Aarrestad and Peter G.H. Frost

  5. Part V: Responders

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    2. Chapter 12

      Plant–Herbivore Interactions (pages 189–206)

      Christina Skarpe, Roger Bergström, Shimane Makhabu, Tuulikki Rooke, Håkan Hytteborn and Kjell Danell

    3. Chapter 13

      Elephants and the Grazing and Browsing Guilds (pages 207–228)

      Christina Skarpe, Stein R. Moe, Märtha Wallgren and Sigbjørn Stokke

  6. Part VI: Elephants in Social-Ecological Systems

    1. Chapter 16

      Human Dimensions of Elephant Ecology (pages 269–288)

      Eivin Røskaft, Thor Larsen, Rapelang Mojaphoko, A. H. M. Raihan Sarker and Craig Jackson

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    1. You have free access to this content

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