, Volume 12, Issue 4, pp 703-715

Large mammalian herbivores and woody plant species diversity in Zimbabwe

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Abstract

Study sites from various tree savannas and miombo woodland with adjacentareas with different herbivore species (game and cattle) and stocking rates wereselected from around Zimbabwe. Using the fence-lines separating the adjacentareas, 60 m2 plots were placed on both sides of thefence at 18 randomly chosen positions. The identity and number of plants of eachwoody species were recorded in paired 60 m2 plots. Therewere no significant differences in the woody species richness between pairedplots for any of the fence-line contrasts. For only two of the fence-linecontrasts were there significant differences (P < 0.05)in the relative abundance of woody species. For the first fence-line contrast,the stocking rates were the same, but the herbivore species present weredifferent, while for the second fence-line contrast, the numbers of herbivorespecies present were the same, but the stocking rates differed. Even thoughthere were no differences in the numbers of woody plant species present, therewere differences in the woody plant species and the numbers of plants of eachspecies: the second most common species was different for three fence-linecontrasts and the third most common species was different for four fence-linecontrasts.