In fenced protected areas with limited opportunities to disperse, resources and constraints vary in space and time, affecting herbivore behaviour. The distribution, availability and quality of resources, burnt areas, and potential inter-specific competition all play a role in sustaining populations of large sympatric African herbivores. We investigated the role of resources, constraints and interspecific relationships on habitat use by three ruminants – black and blue wildebeest (Connochaetes gnou, C. taurinus) and red hartebeest (Alcelaphus buselaphus), and a non-ruminant, plains zebra (Equus quagga), across seasons and in different landscape types in a South African reserve. Black wildebeest, blue wildebeest and red hartebeest preferred the open grassland landscape, with homogeneous vegetation, while zebra favoured the wooded grassland landscape, with more heterogeneous vegetation. Burnt areas and vegetation greenness were important for all species, while elevation represented a constraint for black wildebeest only. The presence/absence of other species was important in shaping landscape use for black and blue wildebeest, and this suggests the possibility of competition. Our findings confirm the importance of heterogeneity and, in particular, the important role of a planned burning regime in maintaining such heterogeneity to sustain multi-species herbivore assemblages in small fenced nature reserves, where competition might arise between species using similar resources.
You have requested a machine translation of selected content from our databases. This functionality is provided solely for your convenience and is in no way intended to replace human translation. Neither BioOne nor the owners and publishers of the content make, and they explicitly disclaim, any express or implied representations or warranties of any kind, including, without limitation, representations and warranties as to the functionality of the translation feature or the accuracy or completeness of the translations.
Translations are not retained in our system. Your use of this feature and the translations is subject to all use restrictions contained in the Terms and Conditions of Use of the BioOne website.