Chapter

Amboseli Ecosystem Context: Past and Present

Harvey Croze and W. Keith Lindsay

in The Amboseli Elephants

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print March 2011 | ISBN: 9780226542232
Published online February 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226542263 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.7208/chicago/9780226542263.003.0002
Amboseli Ecosystem Context: Past and Present

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The Amboseli ecosystem is unique. No other place in Africa combines the special hydrology, topography, geology, and cultural history of Amboseli. Despite modest rainfall, a gently rolling bushland surrounding a system of swamps fed by the Kilimanjaro mountain forest catchment supports an array of birds and mammals, dominated in terms of biomass and visibility by a population of some 1,500 African elephants. At the heart of the ecosystem nestles Amboseli National Park, which for decades has been a major attractor for wildlife and tourism. In order to place the ecology, ranging, population dynamics, and sociality of the Amboseli elephants into the perspective of their habitat, this chapter describes (1) the variable and dynamic Amboseli ecosystem in general and (2) the broad habitat changes that have taken place over the past five decades (1957–2002), including assessments of changes in wildlife species numbers.

Keywords: Amboseli ecosystem; African elephants; biomass; habitat change; wildlife species; ecology

Chapter.  11241 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Animal Behaviour and Behavioural Ecology

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