|Appears in Collections:||Biological and Environmental Sciences Journal Articles|
|Peer Review Status:||Refereed|
|Title:||Potential effects of prescribed savannah burning on the diet selection of forest buffalo (Syncerus caffer nanus) in Lopé National Park, Gabon|
|Authors:||van, der Hoek Yntze|
Jeffery, Kathryn Jane
van, Hooft Pim
|Citation:||van der Hoek Y, Lustenhouwer I, Jeffery KJ & van Hooft P (2013) Potential effects of prescribed savannah burning on the diet selection of forest buffalo (Syncerus caffer nanus) in Lopé National Park, Gabon, African Journal of Ecology, 51 (1), pp. 94-101.|
|Abstract:||Seasonality and management are factors that may affect the diet selection of the forest buffalo (Syncerus caffer nanus). Fire is considered a major driving force in savannah systems and prescribed burning is a commonly applied conservation tool in protected areas such as Lopé National Park, Gabon. Prescribed annual fires contribute to the maintenance of open areas and provide high-quality forage for forest buffalo, a major herbivore in the park. We used microhistological faecal analysis to determine the diet selection of forest buffalo and measured the extent of variation between a dry season, preburn and a wet season, postburn sampling period. The buffalo diet comprised mainly of monocotyledons, primarily grasses (Poaceae) and sedges (Cyperaceae). Intake of open-area-associated plant species was higher in the wet season, postburn treatment sampling period (97%) than the dry season, preburn sampling period (87%), which corresponded conversely to a reduction in forest-associated Marantaceae plants (10% versus 1%). High proportions of grasses and sedges in the diet signify the importance of open areas for forest buffalo. Controlled burning as tool for maintenance of open areas may play a key role in the meta-population management of the forest buffalo.|
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