oa Koedoe : African Protected Area Conservation and Science - Impact of elephant on two woody trees, Boscia oleoides and Pappea capensis, in an arid thicket-Nama Karoo mosaic, Greater Addo Elephant National Park : short communication
Despite extensive evidence of the influences of elephant on woody trees in savannah habitats, effects on trees in the succulent thickets of the Eastern Cape are relatively poorly described. Our study investigates the role and intensity of elephant impacts on Pappea capensis and the relatively rare Boscia oleoides in an arid thicket-Nama Karoo mosaic habitat of the Greater Addo Elephant National Park. We show that roughly 19% of the B. oleoides and nearly half of the P. capensis individuals recorded showed signs of elephant impact. Elephant often toppled our study trees, and where these individuals were uprooted, mortalities occurred: B. oleoides ~ 44% of the impacted trees (4 individuals); P. capensis ~ 22% of the impacted trees (29 individuals).
Conservation implications : Whilst this study is restricted by limited spatial and temporal replication, P. capensis mortalities caused by elephant occurred at a rate exceeding that of other processes. Our results provide insight into the severity of the measured changes and the need to reduce the impacts. However, it would be critically important to establish the specific driver of elephant-tree interactions before any management intervention is implemented.
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