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Short-term mangrove browsing by feral water buffalo: conflict between natural resources, wildlife and subsistence interests?
Dahdouh-Guebas, F.; Vrancken, D.; Ravishankar, T.; Koedam, N. (2006). Short-term mangrove browsing by feral water buffalo: conflict between natural resources, wildlife and subsistence interests? Environ. Conserv. 33(2): 157-163. dx.doi.org/10.1017/S0376892906003080
In: Environmental Conservation. Cambridge University Press: Lausanne,. ISSN 0376-8929, more
Peer reviewed article  

Also published as
  • Dahdouh-Guebas, F.; Vrancken, D.; Ravishankar, T.; Koedam, N. (2007). Short-term mangrove browsing by feral water buffalo: conflict between natural resources, wildlife and subsistence interests?, in: VLIZ Coll. Rep. 35-36(2005-2006). VLIZ Collected Reprints: Marine and Coastal Research in Flanders, 35-36: pp. Chapter 40, more

Available in Authors 

Keywords
Author keywords
    Bos bubalis; browsing; ethnozoology; grazing; herbivore; India; woodyvegetation

Authors  Top 
  • Dahdouh-Guebas, F., more
  • Vrancken, D.
  • Ravishankar, T.
  • Koedam, N., more

Abstract
    Management of the natural environment and its resources leads to conflicts between different stake-holders worldwide. Recently mangrove browsing by feral water buffalo in the East-Godavari Delta (India) has been considered a threat to the regeneration of mangroves by the local Forest Department, which led to conflicts between the authorities and local herds-men who have an ancient tradition involving feral water buffalo. The impact of browsing and grazing of mangroves by feral water buffalo was monitored. Feral water buffalo consumed mangroves, but not to the extent claimed by the Forest Department, prefering Avicennia alba, A. marina and A. officinalis. Their browsing behaviour was not linked to a height zone, and buffalo preferred the fresh leaves from previously undamaged branches. Under experimental and natural conditions, browsing induced compensatory regrowth in Avicennia. The carrying capacity of the mangrove appears to be sufficient to accumulate impact. There are both positive and negative impacts of livestock animals on forest ecosystems, and sociocultural consequences must be carefully assessed prior to enforcing a change in natural resource or environmental management. Before banning feral water buffalo from the mangrove, forest managers should confront their prejudices about the real impact of feral herbivores on these forests.

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