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Traditional ranching practices enhance African savanna
Date:5/1/2013

lades. Unexpectedly, the area between two close glades had some of the lowest gecko lizard densities and tree growth rates of the entire study. "This result was a surprise to us," Donihue said, "and has important management implications as we think about integrating knowledge from agrarian cultures and traditions into modern ranching practice."

The surprising result may be due to cattle overuse of the area between an established boma and nearby glade. Further experiments are currently underway at the research center to explore this pattern and determine optimal distances between bomas.

It is important to note that over-grazing can have myriad detrimental impacts on ecosystems. This project simply demonstrates that traditional corralling techniques in Kenya leave a landscape-scale legacy that can bolster local abundances of native plants and animals.

"With human populations booming, we must look beyond the 'leave no trace' conservation ethic," said Donihue. "We must strive to find ways that our impacts on ecosystems can work in concert with natural processes. Our study suggests that traditional practices, honed over millennia, offer insightful lessons on how to do it."


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Contact: Colin Donihue
colin.donihue@yale.edu
Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies
Source:Eurekalert

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