Variation in mammal diversity and habitat affect heterogeneity and processes of a granite catena

Koedoe - African Protected Area Conservation and Science

Field Value
Title Variation in mammal diversity and habitat affect heterogeneity and processes of a granite catena
Creator Janecke, Beanelri B. Bolton, Jeremy G.
Subject Ecology; Environmental science; Wildlife Animal presence; Ecosystem functioning; Herbivores and predators; Landscape of fear; Stevenson-Hamilton Supersite
Description A higher variety of habitats normally result in higher diversity of species. The granite catenas near Skukuza, Kruger National Park (KNP), consist of different soil types along the hillslope, creating different habitats. Objectives were to determine the mammal species present on a catena and surrounding areas; to indicate their main period of activity; and to indicate human visibility in each catenal zone to explain landscape of fear principles. Camera trap surveys were conducted for short periods and repeated over three years. In total, 31 mammal species were observed on the catena, and its nearest waterholes. Small to mega-sized mammals were present, but some species were only observed during one survey period. Small changes were noticed in activity periods between survey periods, probably due to the drought. A severe drought changed vegetation structure and visibility, but the study area appeared to act as a drought forage refuge. The lowest visibility was found at the sodic patch upper-midslope ecotone, and shrub veld. This can possibly explain the lower number of mammal observations in these areas. Different habitats and habitat features were described which can affect the presence of mammals, i.e. the mud wallows that were created and maintained by the mammals. Future studies can focus on the impact of seasonal changes in mammal presence and on mammal diversity during a normal rainfall year.Conservation implications: To understand the mechanisms of herbivores as ecosystem drivers, aspects such as vegetation, soil and mammals should be combined. Better understanding of mammals, their habitats and associated processes can lead to better conservation actions.
Publisher AOSIS Publishing
Contributor UFS Strategic Research Fund NRF Thutuka Grant
Date 2020-10-29
Type info:eu-repo/semantics/article info:eu-repo/semantics/publishedVersion — Camera trapping
Format text/html application/epub+zip text/xml application/pdf
Identifier 10.4102/koedoe.v62i2.1592
Source Koedoe; Vol 62, No 2 (2020); 12 pages 2071-0771 0075-6458
Language eng
Coverage Africa; Savanna biome; Protected areas Chronologic Species diversity; presence of mammals; herd sizes; activity
Rights Copyright (c) 2020 Beanelri B. Janecke, Jeremy G. Bolton