Fire and grazers in the West African savanna

Leiden Repository

Fire and grazers in the West African savanna

Type: Doctoral Thesis
Title: Fire and grazers in the West African savanna
Author: Klop, Leendert Frederik
Publisher: Institute of Environmental Sciences (CML), Faculty of Science, Leiden University
Issue Date: 2009-09-03
Keywords: Africa
Resource selection
Abstract: Africa is often called ‘the fire continent’ based on the high frequency and large extent of burning. Over 200 million hectares of land are regularly burned, mostly savanna areas. In this thesis the ecological effects of fire on savanna herbivores in Bénoué National Park in North Cameroon are described. Analyses of grass quality show that unburned grass swards are of insufficient quality to sustain grazing herbivores during the dry season. Post-fire regrowth, however, is of much better quality, as it contains higher nutrient levels and higher digestibility. As a result, herbivores strongly prefer to graze on burned swards. This is more than just a simple food preference: most grazers probably would not survive the dry season on unburned swards. Because of this, fire proves to be a major factor governing diversity patterns of herbivores, both at the local scale (the park) and at larger scales (West Africa as a whole). In this thesis it is argued that the species richness of grazing herbivores throughout West Africa is primarily governed by fire, rather than by moisture or soil fertility. Without fire it would thus be impossible to maintain current diversity levels of herbivores in the Guinea savanna zone of West Africa.
Description: Promotores: H.A. Udo de Haes, H.H.T. Prins, Co-promotor: H.H. de Iongh
With summary in Dutch
Faculty: Faculteit der Wiskunde en Natuurwetenschappen
Citation: Klop, L.F., 2009, Doctoral thesis, Leiden University
Sponsor: Directoraat Generaal International Samenwerking (DGIS) Institute of Environmental Sciences (CML), Leiden University

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text/html Chapters 4 and 7 link to published articles 6.537Kb View/Open
application/pdf Title page_Contents_Acknowledgements 95.15Kb View/Open
application/pdf Chapter 1 General introduction 583.9Kb View/Open
application/pdf Chapter 2 Study area 460.4Kb View/Open
application/pdf Chapter 3 Fires and forage quality 317.0Kb View/Open
application/pdf Chapter 4 Reso ... tion on post-fire regrowth 383.9Kb View/Open
application/pdf Chapter 5 Resource partitioning 494.3Kb View/Open
application/pdf Chapter 6 Sava ... govern community structure 537.2Kb View/Open Full text at publisher site
application/pdf Chapter 7 Dive ... of West African ungulates 733.5Kb View/Open Full text at publisher site
application/pdf Chapter 8 Discussion 328.5Kb View/Open
application/pdf Summary 71.37Kb View/Open
application/pdf Summary in Dutch 87.66Kb View/Open
application/pdf Curriculum Vitae 39.20Kb View/Open
application/pdf Propositions 19.47Kb View/Open

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