Cross-boundary human impacts compromise the Serengeti-Mara ecosystem

Veldhuis, M. P. et al. (2019) Cross-boundary human impacts compromise the Serengeti-Mara ecosystem. Science, 363(6434), pp. 1424-1428. (doi:10.1126/science.aav0564) (PMID:30923217)

Veldhuis, M. P. et al. (2019) Cross-boundary human impacts compromise the Serengeti-Mara ecosystem. Science, 363(6434), pp. 1424-1428. (doi:10.1126/science.aav0564) (PMID:30923217)

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Abstract

Protected areas provide major benefits for humans in the form of ecosystem services, but landscape degradation by human activity at their edges may compromise their ecological functioning. Using multiple lines of evidence from 40 years of research in the Serengeti-Mara ecosystem, we find that such edge degradation has effectively "squeezed" wildlife into the core protected area and has altered the ecosystem's dynamics even within this 40,000-square-kilometer ecosystem. This spatial cascade reduced resilience in the core and was mediated by the movement of grazers, which reduced grass fuel and fires, weakened the capacity of soils to sequester nutrients and carbon, and decreased the responsiveness of primary production to rainfall. Similar effects in other protected ecosystems worldwide may require rethinking of natural resource management outside protected areas.

Item Type:Articles
Status:Published
Refereed:Yes
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Hopcraft, Dr Grant and Morrison, Dr Thomas
Authors: Veldhuis, M. P., Ritchie, M. E., Ogutu, J. O., Morrison, T. A., Beale, C. M., Estes, A. B., Mwakilema, W., Ojwang, G. O., Parr, C. L., Probert, J., Wargute, P. W., Hopcraft, J. G. C., and Olff, H.
College/School:College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > Institute of Biodiversity Animal Health and Comparative Medicine
Journal Name:Science
Publisher:American Association for the Advancement of Science
ISSN:0036-8075
ISSN (Online):1095-9203
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2019 The Authors
First Published:First published in Science 363(6434):1424-1428
Publisher Policy:Reproduced in accordance with the copyright policy of the publisher

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Project CodeAward NoProject NamePrincipal InvestigatorFunder's NameFunder RefLead Dept
681691AfricanBioServicesDaniel HaydonEuropean Commission (EC)641918RI BIODIVERSITY ANIMAL HEALTH & COMPMED