Lessons from aloes in the Thicket Biome: reconstructing past elephant browsing to understand the present

Parker, D. M. and Bernard, R.T.F. (2008) Lessons from aloes in the Thicket Biome: reconstructing past elephant browsing to understand the present. South African Journal of Science, 104 (5). pp. 163-164. ISSN 0038-2353

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Abstract

It is very difficult to quantify elephant-induced change to vegetation in the absence of adequate historical benchmarks. In this commentary, we explore the historical distribution of aloes in the Thicket Biome of South Africa. We contend that the large stands of aesthetically pleasing aloes in the Thicket Biome can be likened to the even-aged stands of tall trees in the riparian forests of Botswana, both being artefacts of the loss of large herbivores through disease and hunting in the past. Elephant browsing on aloes may therefore be the first step in the vegetation reverting to a situation similar to the one prior to excessive hunting in the region.

Item Type:Article
Additional Information:Commentary
Uncontrolled Keywords:Aloe Ferox; A.ferox; aloe; aloes; loss; damage; plant species; distribution; vegetation management; vegetation boundaries; vegetation structure; fenced reserves; biotic communities; plant communities; ecosystem management; ecology; South Africa; Eastern Cape; Addo Elephant National Park; Thicket Biome; elephants; browsing; elephant population
Subjects:Y Unknown > Subjects to be assigned
Divisions:Faculty > Faculty of Science > Zoology & Entomology
ID Code:1211
Deposited By: Mrs Eileen Shepherd
Deposited On:10 Oct 2008
Last Modified:01 Aug 2012 10:23
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