Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Predicting the species diversity of large herbivores in nature reserves

20.02.2002


The number of species of large herbivores that can live in a nature reserve can be easily calculated using just rainfall and soil fertility data. The Wageningen ecologist Dr Han Olff can use this to indicate on a worldwide basis where nature reserves that protect large mammals are needed.



On a map of the world, the researcher from Wageningen University has marked the areas in which the greatest diversity of large game can live. For species-rich nature reserves in East Africa and on the Argentinean Pampas, the predictions correlate well with the number of animal species present there. Even more remarkable are the predicted high species diversities in India, the Ukraine and the Mid-West United States. These are agricultural areas where the majority of animal species have become extinct. In Europe, Spain has many possibilities for nature reserves with a large species diversity of herbivores. The same is true for parts of Mongolia, China and Australia.

For the predictions of species diversity, the Wageningen ecologists only used soil fertility and rainfall data. These two parameters determine the quantity and quality of food. Large herbivores require a lot of food but the quality of this is less important. Small herbivores require less food but it needs to be of a higher quality. Therefore, a nature reserve with a high rainfall is good for large herbivores, such as elephants and buffalos. A nature reserve with fertile ground and little rainfall is ideal for small herbivores, such as gazelles and hares. The greatest species diversity can be expected in areas with a fertile soil and an average rainfall.


The Wageningen researcher has compared the predictions with the actual species diversity, soil fertility and rainfall of 88 nature reserves in Africa and 34 in North America. In Africa a total of 99 large herbivores with a weight of at least two kilograms can be found. In North America there are just 25 such species. Despite the great differences in the natural environments, it transpired that in both continents the number of animal species in each nature reserve, expressed as a percentage of the total number of animal species on the continent, could be derived on the basis of the rainfall and soil fertility. The conclusion that the species diversity can be predicted in such a simple manner came as a surprise. The research indicates which as yet unprotected nature areas and which agricultural areas offer the most possibilities for restoring large herbivore diversity.

Michel Philippens | alphagalileo

More articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation:

nachricht Species may appear deceptively resilient to climate change
24.11.2017 | University of California - Davis

nachricht Scientists team up on study to save endangered African penguins
16.11.2017 | Florida Atlantic University

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: New proton record: Researchers measure magnetic moment with greatest possible precision

High-precision measurement of the g-factor eleven times more precise than before / Results indicate a strong similarity between protons and antiprotons

The magnetic moment of an individual proton is inconceivably small, but can still be quantified. The basis for undertaking this measurement was laid over ten...

Im Focus: Frictional Heat Powers Hydrothermal Activity on Enceladus

Computer simulation shows how the icy moon heats water in a porous rock core

Heat from the friction of rocks caused by tidal forces could be the “engine” for the hydrothermal activity on Saturn's moon Enceladus. This presupposes that...

Im Focus: Nanoparticles help with malaria diagnosis – new rapid test in development

The WHO reports an estimated 429,000 malaria deaths each year. The disease mostly affects tropical and subtropical regions and in particular the African continent. The Fraunhofer Institute for Silicate Research ISC teamed up with the Fraunhofer Institute for Molecular Biology and Applied Ecology IME and the Institute of Tropical Medicine at the University of Tübingen for a new test method to detect malaria parasites in blood. The idea of the research project “NanoFRET” is to develop a highly sensitive and reliable rapid diagnostic test so that patient treatment can begin as early as possible.

Malaria is caused by parasites transmitted by mosquito bite. The most dangerous form of malaria is malaria tropica. Left untreated, it is fatal in most cases....

Im Focus: A “cosmic snake” reveals the structure of remote galaxies

The formation of stars in distant galaxies is still largely unexplored. For the first time, astron-omers at the University of Geneva have now been able to closely observe a star system six billion light-years away. In doing so, they are confirming earlier simulations made by the University of Zurich. One special effect is made possible by the multiple reflections of images that run through the cosmos like a snake.

Today, astronomers have a pretty accurate idea of how stars were formed in the recent cosmic past. But do these laws also apply to older galaxies? For around a...

Im Focus: Visual intelligence is not the same as IQ

Just because someone is smart and well-motivated doesn't mean he or she can learn the visual skills needed to excel at tasks like matching fingerprints, interpreting medical X-rays, keeping track of aircraft on radar displays or forensic face matching.

That is the implication of a new study which shows for the first time that there is a broad range of differences in people's visual ability and that these...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Ecology Across Borders: International conference brings together 1,500 ecologists

15.11.2017 | Event News

Road into laboratory: Users discuss biaxial fatigue-testing for car and truck wheel

15.11.2017 | Event News

#Berlin5GWeek: The right network for Industry 4.0

30.10.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

IceCube experiment finds Earth can block high-energy particles from nuclear reactions

24.11.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

A 'half-hearted' solution to one-sided heart failure

24.11.2017 | Health and Medicine

Heidelberg Researchers Study Unique Underwater Stalactites

24.11.2017 | Earth Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>