Effects of manipulative fire regimes and mechanical bush clearing on antelope space use
Format Extent205824 bytes
MetadataShow full item record
Game reserves are conducting major habitat manipulations with increasing frequency in an effort to reduce fuel loads and therefore the risk of high-severity wildfires. These modifications of the savanna ecosystem have significant effects on food supplies and foraging sites. A combination of bush clearing and fire, in three habitat types, was used at Lapalala Wilderness to create optimal conditions for desirable plant growth, thereby directing animal movement. This study used a pellet count method, as a measure of animal visitation, to quantify the effects these habitat changes had on ungulate space use. We found that resource selection by ungulates post-burn was not uniform and bush clearing had an overall negative effect on the presence of ungulate species. Our results provide insight on the short-term effects fire and bush clearing may have on ungulate space use. We suggest the ecological outcomes of management approaches should be well understood and the implementation of manipulative practices that change ungulate feeding patterns should be appropriately conducted in order to achieve the desired goals.