Grazing lawns contribute to the subsistence of medium-sized herbivores in dystrophic savannas

R. Verweij, J. Verrelst, P.E. Loth, I.M.A. Heitkönig, A.M.H. Brunsting

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

60 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Resource manipulation, such as the creation and maintenance of grazing lawns, may shape the structure of herbivore communities. We tested the hypothesis that grazing lawns contribute towards the subsistence of the Kobus kob kob in a dystrophic West African savanna, where kob and Hippopotamus amphibius both occur. Comparison of the foliage of grazing lawns and ungrazed swards shows that hippo lawns are more nutritious with regard to both structure and nutrients; kob lawns are higher in nutrients only. Up to the early dry season, hippo lawns meet kob energy and protein demand, thereafter, the shortness of the sward limits intake. Kob lawns always provide sub-maintenance values. Grazing on ungrazed swards is least profitable. We suggest that grazing lawns are essential for the daily subsistence of mesoherbivores, particularly on nutrient-poor soil, and that megaherbivores facilitate their food supply, for at least part of the year
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)108-116
JournalOikos
Volume114
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2006

Keywords

  • benoue-national-park
  • large herbivores
  • uganda kob
  • resource competition
  • facilitation
  • communities
  • serengeti
  • megaherbivores
  • ruminants
  • cameroon

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