Woody plant abundance drives the browsing patterns of elephants in miombo woodlands of Ugalla landscape, Tanzania
(English)Manuscript (preprint) (Other academic)
Knowledge on what factors influence habitat selection by wildlife and the food items they feed upon is crucial to habitat and species conservation. Elephants in Ugalla landscape select the types of woody plants to feed upon (browse). To understand the factors driving the elephant browsing patterns in miombo woodlands within the Ugalla landscape, we sampled the woody vegetation in 1860 plots along 62 transects in order to assess the occurrence and abundance of woody species, their height, elephant browsing signs, and analyze leaf nutrient contents. Plants from the Fabaceae, which are characteristic in the Miombo woodlands, comprised the majority of sampled plant species in the Ugalla landscape. Not all plant species were browsed. Highly browsed plants had a height between 1-10 meters. Leaf nutrient content did not differ significantly among the sampled plants. The forage selection by the elephants in Ugalla could be driven by the abundance of the preferred plant species and their heights, which determines forage accessibility.
browsing, elephants, foraging, plant height, plant species, miombo woodland
Other Earth and Related Environmental Sciences
Research subject Physical Geography
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-116282OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-116282DiVA: diva2:806001