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dc.contributor.authorDudley, Joseph Paine
dc.date.accessioned2018-08-08T19:20:24Z
dc.date.available2018-08-08T19:20:24Z
dc.date.issued1999
dc.identifier.urihttp://hdl.handle.net/11122/9523
dc.descriptionThesis (Ph.D.) University of Alaska Fairbanks, 1999
dc.description.abstractThe available scientific evidence indicates that African forest elephants and bush elephants are ecologically and evolutionarily distinct taxa. The current practice of regarding these two taxa as ecotypes of a single species, Loxodonta africana (i.e., L. a. africana Blumenbach 1797, L. a. cyclotis Matschie 1900) appears unwarranted, and obscures issues of major significance to the conservation biology of African elephants. Under a proposed taxonomic revision, the African bush elephant retains the designation Loxodonta africana Blumenbach 1797 while the African forest elephant is recognized as Loxodonta cyclotis Noack 1906. The browsing of woody plants by African bush elephants is a major factor in the structural dynamics of semi-arid woodland and scrubland habitats in Hwange National Park (HNP) and the Sengwa Wildlife Research Area (SWRA), Zimbabwe. Drought, frost and fire also influence the structure and species composition of woody vegetation within HNP. Interactions among these three abiotic factors and elephant browsing may have significant impacts on the dynamics of semi-arid woodland and scrubland habitats of HNP. Mortality attributable to elephant damage was identified as a principal cause of death among large trees (>5.0 in height), and a relatively minor but not insignificant cause of death for shrubs and trees in the 1.0--5.0 in height class. The responses of Colophospermum mopane in SWRA to fertilization treatments corresponded to those predicted by the carbon/nutrient hypothesis of plant anti-herbivore defense. Comparisons of these results with those of previous studies suggest possible changes in the ecology and population biology of elephants in HNP during the past decade. Observed differences in the age-specific mortality of elephant in HNP during die-offs in 1993--1995 and 1980--1984 provide independent evidence of changes in the ecology of elephants in HNP during the period 1983--1993. The population of L. a. africana inhabiting the Matabeleland-Ngamiland-Okavango region of southern central Africa (which includes the HNP population), is the largest extant elephant population on Earth. The magnitude of this population (110,000--120,000), and the high proportion of its range currently under protection as wildlife reserves, indicate that this population may rank as the most viable and potentially sustainable elephant population on Earth.
dc.subjectEcology
dc.subjectForestry
dc.subjectZoology
dc.titleForaging ecology and conservation biology of African elephants: Ecological and evolutionary perspectives on elephant-woody plant interactions in African landscapes
dc.typeThesis
dc.type.degreephd
dc.identifier.departmentBiology and Wildlife Department
dc.contributor.chairBryant, John P.
refterms.dateFOA2020-03-06T01:46:29Z


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