23 July 2009

People, plants and herbivores

Taking a more bottom-up approach to studying the ecosystem, I focus on the vegetation and habitats and what affect this has on the densities and distributions of wild and domestic herbivores. I am interested to see for example if the wildlife and the domestic stock use the same kind of habitats at the same time or if they avoid each other, and generally how they relate to each other. I am also looking at how then they in turn impact the vegetation.

Having areas within the ecosystem which are predominantly for cattle grazing and areas which are set aside for wildlife (i.e. the conservation areas) makes this even more interesting as these areas can act as control study areas. The situation gets really interesting however in times of extreme drought such as is being faced now, where both livestock and wildlife are both doing all that they can just to survive, and therefore are ending up in the same areas at the same time in search of water and forage.