Tuesday, December 29, 2020

Reversing Invasive Plant Degradation in Gorongosa National Park, Mozambique

Environmental & Science Education
Edward Hessler

The full paper is behind a firewall but the abstract summarizes an interesting story about the effects of rewilding in Gorongosa National Park, Mozambique.

During the 1977-92 Mozambican civil war the large mammal populations collapsed which "exacerbated woody encroachment by the invasive shrub Mimosa pigra—considered one of the world’s 100 worst invasive species—and that one decade of concerted trophic rewilding restored this invasion to pre-war baseline levels. ... 

"Our results," the authors "provide mechanistic evidence that trophic rewilding has rapidly revived a key ecosystem function (biotic resistance to a notorious woody invader), underscoring the potential for restoring ecological health in degraded protected areas."

The paper by Jennifer Guyton and ten others was published in Nature Ecology & Evolution, 13 January 2020. If you have a Windows Media Player, the supplements section includes two videos. One shows Waterbuck, a large antelope, foraging on Mimosa pigra in a floodplain.  The other shows Oribi, a small antelope, foraging on the same plant in a floodplain.

Guyton is a graduate student in the Pringle Lab at Princeton University. 

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