Resource partitioning within a browsing guild in a key habitat, the Chobe Riverfront, Botswana

Author(s)Shimane W. Makhabu
Year Published2005
JournalJournal of Tropical Ecology
Page Numbers641-649
Size147.56 KB

Resource partitioning between elephant, giraffe, kudu and impala was assessed. This was to address concerns that elephant population increase adversely affects other species through depleting their food in key areas close to permanent water. Resources considered were woody species browsed, height browsed and plant parts browsed. Animals were observed as they browsed and the plant species, browsing heights and plant parts browsed were recorded. Observations were made over 1 y and the data were divided between wet and dry season. Schoener's index of resource use overlap was calculated for plant species, browsing heights and plant parts eaten and differences in overlap between wet and dry season were tested. Levin's measure of niche breadth in plant species utilized by the different browsers was calculated. Woody species identity was the main separator between food resources that elephant used and those giraffe, impala and kudu used. Giraffe, kudu and impala mainly browsed the same species and plant parts but browsed at different heights. There was no difference in resource use overlap between seasons with different resource availability. Since elephant browsed different woody species from those browsed by the others, it is unlikely that the increasing elephant population will deplete food resources for the other browsers.

Key Words: Botswana, browsing, elephant, giraffe, impala, kudu, niche breadth, overlaps

Author: Shimane W. Makhabu

Journal: Journal of Tropical Ecology 

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