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Testing the effects of anthropogenic pressures on a diverse African herbivore community

Vinks, Milan A. and Creel, Scott and Schuette, Paul and Rosenblatt, Elias and Matandiko, Wigganson and Sanguinetti, Carolyn and Banda, Kambwiri and Goodheart, Ben and Becker, Matthew and Chifunte, Clive Musiya and Simukonda, Chuma (2020). Testing the effects of anthropogenic pressures on a diverse African herbivore community. Ecosphere. 11 , e03067 , 1-22
[Journal article]

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Abstract

Large herbivore communities around the world have declined steeply in recent decades. Although excessive bushmeat harvesting is thought to be the primary cause of herbivore declines in many ecosystems, the direct effects of anthropogenic pressures on large herbivore populations remain poorly described in most of the systems experiencing decline. To test the extent to which large herbivores are impacted by ecological and anthropogenic factors in a protected area (PA) thought to be experiencing human-caused decline, we fit distance sampling models to seven years of data from systematic ground-based surveys in Kafue National Park (KNP) to estimate the population densities and distributions of 10 species of large herbivores, and to test what factors affect these parameters. Population densities of the ten most abundant large herbivores in KNP were substantially lower than those reported for an ecologically similar PA with less poaching pressure. Low densities were consistent across species and areas, though there was ecologically important variation among species and size classes. Densities of larger-bodied herbivores were greatly depressed relative to smaller species. This pattern has direct and indirect effects on large carnivore populations, with broad implications for the ecotourism and trophy hunting industries. Statistically and methodologically rigorous methods to test the effects of anthropogenic and environmental variables on density and distribution exist, but are rarely applied to large herbivores. To quantify trends in herbivore populations and evaluate the effectiveness of conservation actions, our results show that distance sampling with stratified ground-based monitoring is an efficient and effective method. In the Greater Kafue Ecosystem (GKE), continued increases in resource protection are needed to facilitate the recovery of an economically and ecologically important large herbivore guild. More broadly, our results confirm that anthropogenic effects on large herbivore distribution and abundance can be strong over wide areas for all species (particularly the larger members of the guild), even in very large PAs.

Authors/Creators:Vinks, Milan A. and Creel, Scott and Schuette, Paul and Rosenblatt, Elias and Matandiko, Wigganson and Sanguinetti, Carolyn and Banda, Kambwiri and Goodheart, Ben and Becker, Matthew and Chifunte, Clive Musiya and Simukonda, Chuma
Title:Testing the effects of anthropogenic pressures on a diverse African herbivore community
Year of publishing :2020
Volume:11
Article number:e03067
Number of Pages:22
Publisher:John Wiley & Sons Ltd, The Ecological Society of America
ISSN:2150-8925
Language:English
Publication Type:Journal article
Article category:Scientific peer reviewed
Version:Published version
Copyright:Creative Commons: Attribution 4.0
Full Text Status:Public
Subjects:(A) Swedish standard research categories 2011 > 1 Natural sciences > 106 Biological Sciences (Medical to be 3 and Agricultural to be 4) > Ecology
Keywords:anthropogenic, bushmeat, distance sampling, Kafue, large herbivore, poaching, prey depletion, protected areas
URN:NBN:urn:nbn:se:slu:epsilon-p-106457
Permanent URL:
http://urn.kb.se/resolve?urn=urn:nbn:se:slu:epsilon-p-106457
Additional ID:
Type of IDID
DOI10.1002/ecs2.3067
Web of Science (WoS)000530422900016
ID Code:17367
Faculty:S - Faculty of Forest Sciences
Department:(S) > Dept. of Wildlife, Fish and Environmental Studies
Deposited By: SLUpub Connector
Deposited On:01 Sep 2020 12:36
Metadata Last Modified:01 Sep 2020 12:36

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