Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Poaching threatens savannah ecosystems

12.02.2014
White rhinoceros may be extinct in twenty years with the current poaching rates. The loss of this megaherbivore is in itself a tragedy, but it may also have tremendous effects on the ecosystems they now live in.
The white rhino (Ceratotherium simum), and other megaherbivores, are key drivers of ecosystem functioning because they´re not controlled by predation.

Rhino
Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences

A new study by Joris Cromsigt and Mariska te Beest, published in Journal of Ecology, highlights the role of the white rhino in the savannah ecosystems.

Earlier empirical studies on the ecosystem impact of megaherbivores are strongly biased to African elephant with very little contemporary evidence for other megaherbivore species. Cromsigt and te Beest quantifies how rhino recolonized Kruger National Park (KNP) following their re-introduction in the 1960s to create a unique ‘recolonization experiment’ and tests how this megagrazer is affecting the structure of savanna grasslands.

The researchers identified landscapes that rhino recolonized long time ago versus landscapes that were recolonized more recently. The assumption was that time since colonization represents a proxy for extent of rhino impact. Grassland heterogeneity on 40 transects covering a total of 30 kilometer were recorded. Short grass cover was clearly higher in the high rhino impact than low rhino impact landscape. Moreover, they encountered about 20 times more grazing lawns, a specific grassland community, in the high rhino impact landscape.

The conclusion is that white rhinoceros may have started to change the structure and composition of KNP’s savanna grasslands. The amount of short grass in savannas has important consequences for other species, but also components of ecosystem functioning such as fire regimes. The results highlight that this poaching crisis not only affects the species but threatens the potentially key role of this megaherbivore as a driver of savannah functioning.

Restoration of a megaherbivore: landscape-level impacts of white rhinoceros in Kruger National Park, South Africa

The article is published online in Journal of Ecology 12 feb 2014,
DOI: 10.1111/1365-2745.12218 http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/1365-2745.12218/abstract
Contact information: Assistant Professor Joris Cromsigt, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Department of Wildlife, Fish and Environmental Studies, joris.cromsigt@slu.se

+27 727547596

Pressofficer: Olof Bergvall, +46 90-786 82 11, olof.bergvall@slu.se

Weitere Informationen:
http://www.slu.se/en/departments/wildlife-fish-environmental-studies/staff/list/cromsigt-joris/

Joris Cromsigt personal webpage

Olof Bergvall | idw
Further information:
http://www.vr.se

More articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation:

nachricht Darwin's finches have reached their limits on the Galápagos
23.06.2015 | University of Groningen

nachricht When Trees Aren’t ‘Green’
15.06.2015 | American Society of Agronomy (ASA), Crop Science Society of America (CSSA), Soil Science Society of America (SSSA)

All articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Iron: A biological element?

Think of an object made of iron: An I-beam, a car frame, a nail. Now imagine that half of the iron in that object owes its existence to bacteria living two and a half billion years ago.

Think of an object made of iron: An I-beam, a car frame, a nail. Now imagine that half of the iron in that object owes its existence to bacteria living two and...

Im Focus: Thousands of Droplets for Diagnostics

Researchers develop new method enabling DNA molecules to be counted in just 30 minutes

A team of scientists including PhD student Friedrich Schuler from the Laboratory of MEMS Applications at the Department of Microsystems Engineering (IMTEK) of...

Im Focus: Bionic eye clinical trial results show long-term safety, efficacy vision-restoring implant

Patients using Argus II experienced significant improvement in visual function and quality of life

The three-year clinical trial results of the retinal implant popularly known as the "bionic eye," have proven the long-term efficacy, safety and reliability of...

Im Focus: Lasers for Fast Internet in Space – Space Technology from Aachen

On June 23, the second Sentinel mission was launched from the space mission launch center in Kourou. A critical component of Aachen is on board. Researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT and Tesat-Spacecom have jointly developed the know-how for space-qualified laser components. For the Sentinel mission the diode laser pump module of the Laser Communication Terminal LCT was planned and constructed in Aachen in cooperation with the manufacturer of the LCT, Tesat-Spacecom, and the Ferdinand Braun Institute.

After eight years of preparation, in the early morning of June 23 the time had come: in Kourou in French Guiana, the European Space Agency launched the...

Im Focus: Superslippery islands (but then they get stuck)

A simple reversible process that changes friction in the nanoworld

(Nano)islands that slide freely on a sea of copper, but when they become too large (and too dense) they end up getting stuck: that nicely sums up the system...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

World Conference on Regenerative Medicine in Leipzig: Last chance to submit abstracts until 2 July

25.06.2015 | Event News

World Conference on Regenerative Medicine: Abstract Submission has been extended to 24 June

16.06.2015 | Event News

MUSE hosting Europe’s largest science communication conference

11.06.2015 | Event News

 
Latest News

Breaking through a double wall with a sledgehammer

29.06.2015 | Life Sciences

Lean but sated: Molecular Switch for a Healthy Metabolism discovered

29.06.2015 | Life Sciences

Spintronics Advance Brings Wafer-Scale Quantum Devices Closer to Reality

29.06.2015 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>