Determinants of the composition and distribution of wildlife communities in southern Africa
Sustainable utilization has become widely accepted in southern Africa as the most pragmatic approach to conserving the region's biodiversity. The rich wildlife resources of southern Africa hold considerable economic potential, but the options for maximizing and sustaining this potential are constrained by the ecological and human determinants of the wildlife communities in each particular ecosystem. This paper provides a general overview of these determinants in an attempt to stimulate the transfer of information from ecologists to managers, investors, and development agencies. The primary ecological determinants of large mammal communities in African savannas are rainfall and soil nutrients since these determine the quantity and quality of food available to large herbivores. These ecological determinants are, however, becoming increasingly masked by the effects of land transformation, veterinary controls, and wildlife economies.
du Toit, J.T. 1995. Determinants of the composition and distribution of wildlife communities in southern Africa. Ambio, 24(1):2-6.