The importance of herbivore interactions for the dynamics of African savanna woodlands: An hypothesis

J Van de Koppel*, HHT Prins

*Corresponding author for this work

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71 Citations (Scopus)
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Abstract

Current hypotheses to explain dynamic transitions between savanna grasslands and woodlands in Africa focus on grazing by elephant or the influence of fire. Using a simple mathematical model, this paper argues that interactions between small herbivores such as impala or buffalo and large herbivores such as elephant or giraffe may provide a plausible alternative hypothesis. The interplay of competition and facilitation between these types of herbivores could explain transitions between grassland and woodland and vice versa. A review of the literature is presented in support of this hypothesis.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)565-576
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Tropical Ecology
Volume14
Issue number5
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Sep-1998

Keywords

  • competition
  • facilitation
  • functional response
  • herbivory
  • plant-herbivore model
  • savanna ecosystems
  • EAST-AFRICA
  • SERENGETI
  • ELEPHANTS
  • ECOSYSTEMS
  • STABILITY
  • ECOLOGY
  • FIRE

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