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Mammal community structure in relation to disturbance and resource gradients in southern Africa
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2009 (English)In: African Journal of Ecology, ISSN 0141-6707, E-ISSN 1365-2028, Vol. 47, no 1, 20-31 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

The arrangements of mammals differ along environmental gradients, such as of disturbance and resources. We examined how mammal community composition in the Kalahari, Botswana, varied in relation to disturbance and resource gradients. We predicted that livestock-keeping villages are disturbances and pans are resources for wildlife, that the responses of mammals to disturbance and resources depend on their functional types and that increased disturbance over time has reduced the numbers and distributions of wildlife. The methods involved road-side counts of mammals > 0.2 kg and trapping of small mammals, < 0.2 kg. The disturbance gradient was more important than the resource gradient for explaining the distribution of mammals > 0.2 kg. Communities in low disturbance-high resource areas were most diverse regarding species and functional types. Small mammal species richness and abundances were unaffected by villages, but increased with distance from pans. Villages were particularly deterring to large wild herbivores, functionally similar to livestock. Most large wild herbivores had decreased since 1975-1983. We conclude that large and medium-sized mammals are highly affected by large-scale disturbance gradients, while small mammals are most dependent on small-scale variation in resources, probably shelter and food. Increased disturbance over time leads to decreasing ranges and numbers of the large wild herbivores.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2009. Vol. 47, no 1, 20-31 p.
Keyword [en]
carnivores, functional types, gradients, herbivores, Kalahari, wildlife
National Category
Biological Sciences
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-148773DOI: 10.1111/j.1365-2028.2007.00904.xISI: 000263676100003OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-148773DiVA: diva2:402980
Available from: 2011-03-10 Created: 2011-03-10 Last updated: 2011-03-10Bibliographically approved

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