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Madsen, Petter, 2017. Tall trees survival in relation to bottom-up and top-down drivers in Hluhluwe-iMfolozi Park, South Africa. Second cycle, A2E. Umeå: SLU, Dept. of Wildlife, Fish and Environmental Studies



Tall trees are in decline throughout many national parks in South Africa. Many studies have
found that trees within a certain size are preferred by elephants which damage trees by either
bark stripping, breaking tree branches and/or stems or by knocking over trees (toppling). The
decline of trees in relation to growing elephant populations is of growing concern, as tall trees
are a key stone feature in the savanna ecosystem. One of the parks where elephant populations
are increasing is in Hluwhluwe-iMfolozi Park, KwaZulu-Natal. To investigate whether trees
within the park are in decline, we set out to revisit previously tagged trees from 2007 to
reassess their condition. When revisiting trees a total of 260 trees were found, resulting in a
92.5% success rate in relocation of individual trees. The analyses showed that elephant impact
was not descriptive of tree mortality within the park. Two tree species however, Combretum
molle and Spirostachys africana, had a lower mortality risk. The risk of elephant impact was
mediated by several abiotic variables, such as slope, aspect and elevation. The results of this
study further accentuates the need to research the interaction between various factors to
understand the causative agents of tall tree mortality.

Main title:Tall trees survival in relation to bottom-up and top-down drivers in Hluhluwe-iMfolozi Park, South Africa
Authors:Madsen, Petter
Supervisor:Cromsigt, Joris and te Beest, Mariska
Examiner:Thulin, Carl-Gustaf
Series:Examensarbete i ämnet biologi / Sveriges lantbruksuniversitet, Institutionen för vilt, fisk och miljö
Volume/Sequential designation:2017:8
Year of Publication:2017
Level and depth descriptor:Second cycle, A2E
Student's programme affiliation:None
Supervising department:(S) > Dept. of Wildlife, Fish and Environmental Studies
Keywords:elephant, drivers, savanna, South Africa, tree survival
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Subject. Use of subject categories until 2023-04-30.:Forestry production
Deposited On:30 Jun 2017 11:33
Metadata Last Modified:30 Jun 2017 11:33

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