Udzungwa book project

Megaherbivores certainly played a role in shaping the Eastern Arc forests; however, black rhinos are now extinct from the region and elephants and buffalo have disappeared from most of the forest blocks except the Udzungwas. For a forthcoming book about the Udzungwa Mountains, we will be contributing a chapter on these elephants and their landscaping of the Udzungwa Mountains. Elephant landscaping includes seed dispersal; use of marshes and riverbanks; root-digging and mineral-digging; the maintenance of forest glades and associated effects on ungulate browse; path-creation and subsequent, consistent use of old elephant trail networks which represent paths of least resistance and lead to sought-after resources used also by other species (thus influencing sympatric mammal movement, distribution, and even predator-prey dynamics); and the ‘cultivation’ of monospecific stands of vegetation (e.g. Aframomum).

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