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      Wild mammal dung abundance in Lake Mburo National Park is lower than in adjacent ranchlands

      Nature Conservation

      Pensoft Publishers

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          Abstract

          The establishment of livestock ranchlands adjacent to protected areas in savanna ecosystems is believed to threaten wild animals. Intensive competition for vegetative resources, water and poaching are considered to be immediate factors that reduce the capacity of protected areas to sustain wild mammals. The coexistence of wild mammals and ranchlands is common in Southern Africa but has rarely been suggested as a viable conservation option in East Africa. To assess the importance of ranchlands in conserving wild mammals, 36 plots of 20 × 20 m dimension were positioned along a 7240 m stretch from the boundary in Lake Mburo National Park (LMNP) and 36 plots of similar dimension were set within the ranchlands adjacent to the Park. The dung counts of different species recorded in the plots were used as a relative index of mammal abundance in the ranchlands and in LMNP. The results reveal 18 wild mammal species recorded in both sampled areas, 12 within LMNP and 17 in the adjacent ranchlands. The topi Damaliscus lunatus was only found in the park. Total dung count estimated in both ranchlands and LMNP was 2,586 with LMNP accounting for 29% and ranchlands 71%. In terms of wild mammal dung, ranchlands had a higher wild mammal dung count than LMNP (30% higher). The study points to the compatibility of the two land uses in conserving wild mammals and biodiversity in general, negating the common belief of competition and exclusion. Future research is needed on the compatibility of ranchlands with protected areas on biodiversity status of other species.

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          Most cited references 18

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          Forest fragmentation and edge effects from deforestation and selective logging in the Brazilian Amazon

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            Assessment of effectiveness of protection strategies in Tanzania based on a decade of survey data for large herbivores.

            Considerable controversy surrounds the effectiveness of strictly protected areas that prohibit consumptive resource use. For Tanzania we compared temporal changes in densities of large herbivores among heavily protected national parks and game reserves, partially protected game-controlled areas, and areas with little or no protection. Comparisons based on surveys conducted in the late 1980s and early 1990s versus the late 1990s and early 2000s showed three consistent patterns across the country. First, significant declines in the densities of large herbivores between these two snapshots in time overwhelmingly outnumbered significant increases in all protection categories. Second, more species fared well (increased significantly or showed no significant change) in strictly protected national parks than in areas with partial or no protection and in heavily protected game reserves relative to areas with no protection. Third, significantly more species fared poorly (densities declined or were too low to detect a decline) than fared well in areas with partial or no protection. Our results show that although heavy protection was generally more effective in maintaining large herbivore populations than partial or no protection, continued long-term monitoring is needed in Tanzania to inform managers whether large herbivores are experiencing declining population trends even within heavily protected areas.
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              Population structure, density and biomass of large herbivores in the tropical forests of Nagarahole, India

              We studied the population structure, density and biomass of seven ungulate and two primate species in the tropical forests of Nagarahole, southern India, using line transect sampling and roadside/platform counts, during 1986–87. The estimated ecological densities of large herbivore species in the study area are: 4.2 muntjac km−2, 50.6 chital km−2, 5.5 sambar km−2, 0.8 four-horned antelope km−2, 9.6 gaur km−2, 4.2 wild pig km−2, 3.3 elephant km−2, 23.8 hanuman langur km−2and 0.6 bonnet macaque km−2. Most ungulates have female-biased adult sex ratios. Among common ungulate species, yearlings and young of the year comprise about a third of the population, suggesting relatively high turn-over rates. Three species (muntjac, sambar and four-horned antelope) are solitary, while others form groups. The study area supports a wild herbivore biomass density of 14,744 kg km−2. Among the three habitat types within the study area, biomass is lower in dry deciduous forests when compared with moist deciduous or teak plantation dominant forests. Using our results, we have examined the factors that may contribute towards maintenance of high ungulate biomass in tropical forests.
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                Nature Conservation
                NC
                Pensoft Publishers
                1314-3301
                1314-6947
                December 11 2019
                December 11 2019
                : 37
                : 123-131
                Article
                10.3897/natureconservation.37.35814
                © 2019

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