Animal-Environment Interactions

When foraging, animals can have a large impact on their resources. In turn, the distribution of resources determines the spatial distribution of animals. The way animals respond to environmental heterogeneity is of major importance for understanding ecological phenomena. However, organisms not only respond to environmental heterogeneity: they actively modify their environment and influence that of other species. Although the way organisms interact with their environment is central to ecology from its very beginning, it has for a long time been analysed without acknowledging the spatial distribution of animals and their resources. Yet recently, an increasing emphasis has been placed on spatial processes in ecological systems, as the potential effects of the landscape surrounding a site (“environmental context”) on organisms at the site has been appreciated more fully. Moreover, the influence of past events or processes on present-day biological phenomena is increasingly being recognized. I studied these interactions in the large herbivore communities in tropical savannas, especially elephant, as these communities are relatively easy to observe and have a large impact on their environment:

Wato, Y.A., I.M.A. Heitkönig, S.E. van Wieren, G. Wahungu, H.H.T. Prins and F. van Langevelde (2016) Prolonged drought results in starvation of African elephant (Loxodonta africana). Biological Conservation 203:89–96 (PDF)

Van Langevelde, F., Z.K. Tessema, W.F. de Boer and H.H.T. Prins (2016) Soil seed bank dynamics under the influence of grazing as alternative explanation for herbaceous vegetation transitions in semi-arid rangelands. Ecological Modelling 337:253–261 (PDF)

Mwakiwa, E., J.W. Hearne, J.D. Stigter, W.F. de Boer, M. Henley, R. Slotow, F. van Langevelde, M. Peel, C.C. Grant and H.H.T. Prins (2016) Optimization of net returns from wildlife consumptive and non-consumptive uses by game reserve management. Environmental Conservation 43:128–139 (PDF)

Hilbers, J.P., F. van Langevelde, H.H.T. Prins, C.C. Grant, M. Peel, M.B. Coughenour, H.J. de Knegt, R. Slotow, I.P.J. Smit, G.A. Kiker and W.F. de Boer (2015) Modeling elephant-mediated cascading effects of water point closure. Ecological Applications 25:402–415 (PDF)

De Boer, W.F., F. van Langevelde, H.H.T. Prins, P.C. de Ruiter, J. Blanc, M.J.P. Vis, K.J. Gaston and I. Douglas Hamilton (2013) Understanding spatial differences in African elephant densities and occurrence, a continent-wide analysis. Biological Conservation 159:468–476 (PDF)

Mwakiwa, E., W.F. de Boer, J.W. Hearne, R. Slotow, F. van Langevelde, M. Peel, C.C. Grant, Y. Pretorius, J.D. Stigter, A.K. Skidmore, I.M.A. Heitkönig, H.J. de Knegt, E.M. Kohi, N. Knox and H.H.T. Prins (2013) Optimization of wildlife management in a large game reserve through waterpoints manipulation: a bio-economic analysis. Journal of Environmental Management 114:352–361 (PDF)

Pretorius, Y., J.D. Stigter, W.F. de Boer, S.E. van Wieren, C.B. de Jong, H.J. de Knegt, C.C. Grant, I. Heitkönig, N. Knox, E. Kohi, E. Mwakiwa, M.J.S. Peel, A.K. Skidmore, R. Slotow, C. van der Waal, F. van Langevelde and H.H.T. Prins (2012) Diet selection of African elephant over time shows changing optimization currency. Oikos 121:2110-2120 (PDF)

Ahrestani, F., F. van Langevelde, I.M.A. Heitkönig and H.H.T. Prins (2012) Contrasting timing of parturition of chital (Axis axis) and gaur (Bos gaurus) in tropical South India – The role of body mass and seasonal forage quality. Oikos 121:1300–1310 (PDF)

Kos, M., A.J. Hoetmer, Y. Pretorius, W.F. de Boer, H. de Knegt, C.C. Grant, E. Kohi, B. Page, M. Peel, R. Slotow, C. van der Waal, S.E. van Wieren, H.H.T. Prins and F. van Langevelde (2012) Seasonal diet change in elephant and impala in a mopane woodland. European Journal of Wildlife Research 58:279-287 (PDF)

Ahrestani, F.S., I.M.A. Heitkonig, F. van Langevelde, V. Srinivas, M.D. Madhusudan and H.H.T. Prins (2011) Moisture and nutrients determine the distribution and richness of India’s large herbivore species assemblage. Basic and Applied Ecology 12:634–642 (PDF)

De Knegt, H.J., F. van Langevelde, A.K. Skidmore, A. Delsink, R. Slotow, S. Henley, G. Bucini, W.F. de Boer, M. Coughenour, C.C. Grant, I.M.A. Heitkönig, M. Henley, N.M. Knox, E.M. Kohi, E. Mwakiwa, B.R. Page, M. Peel, Y. Pretorius, S.E. van Wieren and H.H.T. Prins (2011) The spatial scaling of habitat selection by African elephants. Journal of Animal Ecology 80:270-281 (PDF)

Heuermann, N., F. van Langevelde, S.E. van Wieren and H.H.T. Prins (2011) Increased searching and handling effort in tall swards lead to a Type IV functional response in small grazing herbivores. Oecologia 166:659–669 (PDF)

De Knegt, H J., F. van Langevelde, M. B. Coughenour, A.K. Skidmore, W.F. de Boer, I.M.A. Heitkönig, N.M. Knox, R. Slotow, C. van der Waal and H.H.T. Prins (2010) Spatial autocorrelation and the scaling of species-environment relationships. Ecology 91:2455-2465 (PDF)

Voeten, M.M., C.A.D.M. van de Vijver, H. Olff and F. van Langevelde (2009) Possible causes of decreasing migratory ungulate populations in an East African savanna after restrictions in their seasonal movements. African Journal of Ecology 48:169–179 (PDF)

Kohi, E.M., W.F. de Boer, M. Slot, S.E. van Wieren, J.G. Ferwerda, C.C. Grant, I.M.A. Heitkönig, N. Knox, F. van Langevelde, M. Peel, R. Slotow, C. van der Waal and H.H.T. Prins (2009) Effects of simulated browsing on growth and leaf chemical properties in Colophospermum mopane saplings. African Journal of Ecology 48:190–196 (PDF)

De Knegt, H., T.A. Groen, C.A.D.M. van de Vijver, H.H.T. Prins and F. van Langevelde (2008) Herbivores as architects of savannas: inducing and modifying spatial vegetation patterning. Oikos 117:543-554 (PDF)

Van Langevelde, F., M. Drescher, I.M.A. Heitkönig and H.H.T. Prins (2008) Modelling instantaneous intake rate of herbivores as function of forage quality and mass: effects on facilitative and competitive interactions between differently sized herbivores. Ecological Modelling 213:273–284 (PDF)

De Knegt, H.J., G.M. Hengeveld, F. van Langevelde, W.F. de Boer and K.P. Kirkman (2007) Patch density determines movement patterns and foraging efficiency of large herbivores. Behavioural Ecology 18:1065-1072 (PDF)

Jansen, A.W.A.M., F. van Langevelde, W. F. de Boer and K.P. Kirkman (2007) Optimisation or satiation, testing diet selection rules in goats. Small Ruminant Research 73:160–168 (PDF)

Stigter, J.D. and F. van Langevelde (2004) Optimal harvesting in a two-species model under critical depensation. The case of optimal harvesting in semi-arid grazing systems. Ecological Modelling 179:153–161 (PDF)

Van Langevelde, F., C.A.D.M. van de Vijver, L. Kumar, J. van de Koppel, N. de Ridder, J. van Andel, A.K. Skidmore, J. Hearne, L. Stroosnijder, W.J. Bond, H.H.T. Prins and M. Rietkerk (2003) Effects of fire and herbivory on the stability of savanna ecosystems. Ecology 84:337–350 (PDF)

Drescher, M. and F. van Langevelde (2003) Dynamics in herbivore aggregation resulting from seasonal changes in forage resource quality and production – a modelling approach. African Journal of Range & Forage Science 20:72 (PDF)

Rietkerk, M., M. Boerlijst, F. van Langevelde, R. HilleRisLambers, J. van de Koppel, L. Kumar, H.H.T. Prins and A. de Roos (2002) Self-organization of vegetation in arid ecosystems. American Naturalist 160:524–530 (PDF)

Kumar, L., M. Rietkerk, F. van Langevelde, J. van de Koppel, J. van Andel, J. Hearne, N. de Ridder, L. Stroosnijder, A.K. Skidmore and H.H.T. Prins (2002) Relationship between vegetation growth rates at the onset of the wet season and soil type in the Sahel of Burkina Faso: implications for resource utilisation at large scales. Ecological Modelling 149:143–152 (PDF)

Van de Koppel, J., M. Rietkerk, F. van Langevelde, L. Kumar, C.A. Klausmeier, J.M. Fryxell, J. Hearne, J. van Andel, N. de Ridder, A.K. Skidmore, L. Stroosnijder and H.H.T. Prins (2002) Spatial heterogeneity and irreversible vegetation change in semi-arid grazing systems. American Naturalist 159:209–218 (PDF)

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