Herbivores shape woody plant communities in theKruger National Park: lessons from three long-termexclosures

dc.contributor.authorWigleyI, Benjamin J
dc.contributor.authorFritz, Herve
dc.contributor.authorCoetsee, Corli
dc.contributor.authorBond, William J
dc.date.accessioned2018-01-22T09:47:34Z
dc.date.available2018-01-22T09:47:34Z
dc.date.issued2014
dc.date.updated2016-01-19T13:09:34Z
dc.description.abstractThe role of grazers in determining vegetation community compositions and structuring plant communities is well recognised in grassy systems. The role of browsers in affecting savanna woody plant communities is less clear. We used three long-term exclosures in the Kruger National Park to determine the effect of browsers on species compositions and population structures of woody communities. Species assemblages, plant traits relating to browsing and soil nutrients were compared inside and outside of the exclosures. Our results showed that browsers directly impact plant species distributions, densities and population structures by actively selecting for species with traits which make them desirable to browsers. Species with high leaf nitrogen, low total phenolic content and low acid detergent lignin appeared to be favoured by herbivores and therefore tend to be rare outside of the exclosures. This study also suggested that browsers have important indirect effects on savanna functioning, as the reduction of woody cover can result in less litter of lower quality, which in turn can result in lower soil fertility. However, the magnitude of browser effects appeared to depend on inherent soil fertility and climate. CONSERVATION IMPLICATIONS: Browsers were shown to have significant impacts on plant communities. They have noticeable effects on local species diversity and population structure, as well as soil nutrients. These impacts are shown to be related to the underlying geology and climate. The effects of browsers on woody communities were shown to be greater in low rainfall, fertile areas compared to high rainfall, infertile soils.
dc.identifierhttp://dx.doi.org/10.4102/ koedoe.v56i1.1165
dc.identifier.apacitationWigleyI, B. J., Fritz, H., Coetsee, C., & Bond, W. J. (2014). Herbivores shape woody plant communities in theKruger National Park: lessons from three long-termexclosures. <i>Koedoe: Research Journal of the South African National Parks</i>, http://hdl.handle.net/11427/26852en_ZA
dc.identifier.chicagocitationWigleyI, Benjamin J, Herve Fritz, Corli Coetsee, and William J Bond "Herbivores shape woody plant communities in theKruger National Park: lessons from three long-termexclosures." <i>Koedoe: Research Journal of the South African National Parks</i> (2014) http://hdl.handle.net/11427/26852en_ZA
dc.identifier.citationWigleyI, B. J., Fritz, H., Coetsee, C., & Bond, W. J. (2014). Herbivores shape woody plant communities in theKruger National Park: lessons from three long-termexclosures. Koedoe: African Protected Area Conservation and Science, 56(1), 1-12. doi:10.4102/ koedoe.v56i1.1165
dc.identifier.ris TY - Journal Article AU - WigleyI, Benjamin J AU - Fritz, Herve AU - Coetsee, Corli AU - Bond, William J AB - The role of grazers in determining vegetation community compositions and structuring plant communities is well recognised in grassy systems. The role of browsers in affecting savanna woody plant communities is less clear. We used three long-term exclosures in the Kruger National Park to determine the effect of browsers on species compositions and population structures of woody communities. Species assemblages, plant traits relating to browsing and soil nutrients were compared inside and outside of the exclosures. Our results showed that browsers directly impact plant species distributions, densities and population structures by actively selecting for species with traits which make them desirable to browsers. Species with high leaf nitrogen, low total phenolic content and low acid detergent lignin appeared to be favoured by herbivores and therefore tend to be rare outside of the exclosures. This study also suggested that browsers have important indirect effects on savanna functioning, as the reduction of woody cover can result in less litter of lower quality, which in turn can result in lower soil fertility. However, the magnitude of browser effects appeared to depend on inherent soil fertility and climate. CONSERVATION IMPLICATIONS: Browsers were shown to have significant impacts on plant communities. They have noticeable effects on local species diversity and population structure, as well as soil nutrients. These impacts are shown to be related to the underlying geology and climate. The effects of browsers on woody communities were shown to be greater in low rainfall, fertile areas compared to high rainfall, infertile soils. DA - 2014 DB - OpenUCT DP - University of Cape Town J1 - Koedoe: Research Journal of the South African National Parks LK - https://open.uct.ac.za PB - University of Cape Town PY - 2014 T1 - Herbivores shape woody plant communities in theKruger National Park: lessons from three long-termexclosures TI - Herbivores shape woody plant communities in theKruger National Park: lessons from three long-termexclosures UR - http://hdl.handle.net/11427/26852 ER - en_ZA
dc.identifier.urihttp://hdl.handle.net/11427/26852
dc.identifier.vancouvercitationWigleyI BJ, Fritz H, Coetsee C, Bond WJ. Herbivores shape woody plant communities in theKruger National Park: lessons from three long-termexclosures. Koedoe: Research Journal of the South African National Parks. 2014; http://hdl.handle.net/11427/26852.en_ZA
dc.language.isoeng
dc.publisher.departmentDepartment of Biological Sciencesen_ZA
dc.publisher.facultyFaculty of Scienceen_ZA
dc.publisher.institutionUniversity of Cape Town
dc.sourceKoedoe: Research Journal of the South African National Parks
dc.source.urihttp://www.koedoe.co.za/index.php/koedoe
dc.titleHerbivores shape woody plant communities in theKruger National Park: lessons from three long-termexclosures
dc.typeJournal Article
uct.type.filetypeText
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