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Constraints, crashes and conservation: Were historical African savanna elephants Loxodonta africana densities relatively high or lower than those seen in protected areas today?

Wilkinson, D.M., Midgley, J.J. and Cunningham, A.B. (2022) Constraints, crashes and conservation: Were historical African savanna elephants Loxodonta africana densities relatively high or lower than those seen in protected areas today? Plant Ecology & Diversity . pp. 1-11.

Link to Published Version: https://doi.org/10.1080/17550874.2022.2078244
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Abstract

African savanna elephants (Loxodonta africana) are significant ecosystem engineers – having profound effects on the vegetation when at high population densities. To provide a context for modern conservation decisions it would be useful to know the ‘natural’ population densities prior to the arrival of firearms in Africa. Here, we use botanical and archaeological arguments to suggest a lower density of elephant populations than in some present protected areas over at least the last few millennia, and arguably much longer. This suggests that elephant population densities seen in some protected areas during the second half of the twentieth century are likely higher than those seen in the past and so have the potential to result in significant negative impacts on associated fauna and flora.

Item Type: Journal Article
Murdoch Affiliation(s): Veterinary Medicine
Publisher: Taylor & Francis
URI: http://researchrepository.murdoch.edu.au/id/eprint/65004
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