Deconstruction & Reconstruction of African Savannas: Large mammals as ecological linchpins
Department of Ecology & Evolutionary Biology, Princeton University, USA rpringle@Princeton.EDU
(Seminar in English)
African savannas gave rise to humanity, support some of the world’s most iconic wildlife, and sustain both local livelihoods and national economies—and they are gravely imperiled. Meanwhile, ecological science is poised on the brink of a revolution, as new technologies yield fresh insights into long-unsolved mysteries. I will describe recent theoretical and empirical advances in our understanding of how African savanna ecosystems are structured, of the linkages between their structure and their function, and of the factors that govern their robustness and resilience of ecosystems in the face of anthropogenic pressure. I will then outline a hopeful vision of how 21st-century ecology can provide practical, operational solutions to the problems confronting many African savannas, using Mozambique’s Gorongosa National Park as a case study.
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Pringle RM (2017) Upgrading protected areas to conserve wild biodiversity. Nature 546: 91-99.
Tarnita CE, Bonachela JA, Sheffer E, Guyton JA, Coverdale TC, Long RA, & Pringle RM (2017) A theoretical foundation for multiscale regular vegetation patterns. Nature 541: 398-401.