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Serengeti IVSustaining biodiversity in a coupled human-natural system$
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Anthony R. E. Sinclair, Kristine L. Metzger, Simon A. R. Mduma, and John M. Fryxell

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780226195834

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: September 2015

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226196336.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM CHICAGO SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.chicago.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of Chicago Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in CHSO for personal use.date: 18 September 2021

The Butterflies of Serengeti

The Butterflies of Serengeti

Impact of Environmental Disturbance on Biodiversity

(p.301) Eleven The Butterflies of Serengeti
Serengeti IV

Anthony R. E. Sinclair

Ally K. Nkwabi

Kristine L. Metzger

University of Chicago Press

In savanna habitats the abundances of butterflies change with season, related to their food supply which is determined by rainfall. Consequently interannual abundances change markedly depending on wet or dry years. These data reflect general insect abundance for which data are much more difficult to obtain. In general we find that environmental variability has marked influences on the biodiversity of butterflies in the Serengeti ecosystem. Temporal fluctuations, both seasonally and interannually affect their abundance. Habitat heterogeneity enhances species richness considerably, but disturbances both natural and human-induced reduce this richness; grazing by wildebeest, burning, and agriculture all reduce richness. In particular, habitat modification through agriculture results in the loss of most of the restricted range species. Conservation, therefore, should be aware that the diversity of Serengeti is determined by the many different habitats that occur within it, and that too much disturbance could reduce such diversity.

Keywords:   savanna, butterflies, protected area, biodiversity, conservation

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