Document


Title

Potential effects of prescribed savannah burning on the diet selection of forest buffalo (Syncerus caffer nanus) in Lopé National Park, Gabon
Document Type: Journal Article
Author(s): Yntze van der Hoek; Ivo Lustenhouwer; Kathryn J. Jeffery; Pim van Hooft
Publication Year: 2012

Cataloging Information

Keyword(s):
  • buffalo
  • fecal analysis
  • fire
  • Gabon
  • grassland
  • grazing
  • pyric herbivory
  • savanna burning
  • Syncerus caffer nanus
Region(s):
  • International
Record Maintained By:
Record Last Modified: January 28, 2016
FRAMES Record Number: 18054

Description

Seasonality and management are factors that may affect the diet selection of the forest buffalo (Syncerus caffer nanus). Fire is considered a major driving force in savannah systems and prescribed burning is a commonly applied conservation tool in protected areas such as Lopé National Park, Gabon. Prescribed annual fires contribute to the maintenance of open areas and provide high-quality forage for forest buffalo, a major herbivore in the park. We used microhistological faecal analysis to determine the diet selection of forest buffalo and measured the extent of variation between a dry season, preburn and a wet season, postburn sampling period. The buffalo diet comprised mainly of monocotyledons, primarily grasses (Poaceae) and sedges (Cyperaceae). Intake of open-area-associated plant species was higher in the wet season, postburn treatment sampling period (97%) than the dry season, preburn sampling period (87%), which corresponded conversely to a reduction in forest-associated Marantaceae plants (10% versus 1%). High proportions of grasses and sedges in the diet signify the importance of open areas for forest buffalo. Controlled burning as tool for maintenance of open areas may play a key role in the meta-population management of the forest buffalo.

Online Link(s):
Citation:
Van der Hoek, Yntze; Lustenhouwer, Ivo; Jeffrey, Kathryn J.; van Hooft, Pim. 2012. Potential effects of prescribed savannah burning on the diet selection of forest buffalo (Syncerus caffer nanus) in Lopé National Park, Gabon. African Journal of Ecology 51(1):94-101.