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Serengeti IV

Sustaining Biodiversity in a Coupled Human-Natural System

Serengeti IV

Sustaining Biodiversity in a Coupled Human-Natural System

The vast savannas and great migrations of the Serengeti conjure impressions of a harmonious and balanced ecosystem. But in reality, the history of the Serengeti is rife with battles between human and non-human nature. In the 1890s and several times since, the cattle virus rinderpest—at last vanquished in 2008—devastated both domesticated and wild ungulate populations, as well as the lives of humans and other animals who depended on them. In the 1920s, tourists armed with the world’s most expensive hunting gear filled the grasslands. And in recent years, violence in Tanzania has threatened one of the most successful long-term ecological research centers in history.

Serengeti IV, the latest installment in a long-standing series on the region’s ecology and biodiversity, explores the role of our species as a source of both discord and balance in Serengeti ecosystem dynamics. Through chapters charting the complexities of infectious disease transmission across populations, agricultural expansion, and the many challenges of managing this ecosystem today, this book shows how the people and landscapes surrounding crucial protected areas like Serengeti National Park can and must contribute to Serengeti conservation. In order to succeed, conservation efforts must also focus on the welfare of indigenous peoples, allowing them both to sustain their agricultural practices and to benefit from the natural resources provided by protected areas—an undertaking that will require the strengthening of government and education systems and, as such, will present one of the greatest conservation challenges of the next century.

832 pages | 84 halftones, 100 line drawings, 66 tables | 6 x 9 | © 2015

Biological Sciences: Conservation, Ecology, Natural History


“An especially momentous contribution. This book is mind-boggling in its scope, synthesizing a suite of multiyear studies ranging from the abundance and diversity of arthropods within Serengeti National Park to strategies for disincentivizing poaching through the development of alternative incomes. . . . In sum, Serengeti IV is an epic achievement. It is at once both deeply and broadly appealing, rigorous and readable, cautionary and optimistic. It belongs on the bookshelves of all ecologists (not just those working in Africa, or on large mammals, or in rangeland ecosystems), those working in human dimensions of wildlife conservation, and members of the general public fascinated by this grand ecosystem.”

Jacob R. Goheen, University of Wyoming | Journal of Mammalogy

“An impressive tribute to the Serengeti ecosystem and the work of Sinclair and his colleagues over the past fifty years. The book synthesizes studies on the Serengeti ecosystem through a lens of disturbance, natural and human. Numerous chapters summarize the current state of what is known on subjects ranging from butterflies to infectious disease, elephants, and vegetation, with an overall focus on sustainability. The latter part of the book includes human social systems and consequences of human-wildlife interactions. Throughout the volume, implications of management, policy, and conservation, as directed by the science, are reviewed in the context of changing climate and human influences. . . . Comprehensive, well organized, nicely illustrated, and chock-full of references. The entire volume will be useful to students and researchers with interests in African ecology; additionally, chapters such as, ‘Why Are Wildebeest the Most Abundant Herbivore in the Serengeti Ecosystem?’ stand alone and can be useful in courses such as ecology and behavior. . . . Highly recommended.”

C. L. Johnson, Gustavus Adolphus College | Choice

Serengeti IV is an interesting read for all who are concerned about the current struggle in conservation biology; to what degree (if at all) do we accept humans as a natural, intrinsic, driver of ecosystems? And how do we develop new ways that ensure that protected areas truly support surrounding communities? The Serengeti, and the research that occurs there, will likely continue to play a pivotal role in these heavily debated questions, and it is my hope that it will provide part of the answers.”

Joris P. G. M. Cromsigt, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences and Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University, South Africa | Quarterly Review of Biology

Table of Contents

Preface and Acknowledgments

1          Conservation in a Human-Dominated World
Anthony R. E. Sinclair and Andy Dobson

2          Shaping the Serengeti Ecosystem
Anthony R. E. Sinclair, Andy Dobson, Simon A. R. Mduma, and Kristine L. Metzger

I. Natural Sources of Heterogeneity and Disturbance

3          Scales of Change in the Greater Serengeti Ecosystem
Kristine L. Metzger, Anthony R. E. Sinclair, Sandy Macfarlane, Michael B. Coughenour, and Junyan Ding

4          Fire in the Serengeti Ecosystem: History, Drivers, and Consequences
Stephanie Eby, Jan Dempewolf, Ricardo M. Holdo, and Kristine L. Metzger

5          Spatial and Temporal Drivers of Plant Structure and Diversity in Serengeti Savannas
T. Michael Anderson, John Bukombe, and Kristine L. Metzger

6          Why Are Wildebeest the Most Abundant Herbivore in the Serengeti Ecosystem?
J. Grant C. Hopcraft, Ricardo M. Holdo, Ephraim Mwangomo, Simon Mduma, Simon J. Thirgood, Markus Borner, John M. Fryxell, Han Olff, and Anthony R .E. Sinclair

7          Climate-Induced Effects on the Serengeti Mammalian Food Web
John M. Fryxell, Kristine L. Metzger, Craig Packer, Anthony R. E. Sinclair, and Simon A. R. Mduma

II. Response of Biodiversity to Disturbance

8          From Bacteria to Elephants: Effects of Land-Use Legacies on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Processes in the Serengeti-Mara Ecosystem
Louis V. Verchot, Naomi L. Ward, Jayne Belnap, Deborah Bossio, Michael Coughenour, John Gibson, Olivier Hanotte, Andrew N. Muchiru, Susan L. Phillips, Blaire Steven, Diana H. Wall, and Robin S. Reid

9          Biodiversity and the Dynamics of Riverine Forests in Serengeti
Roy Turkington, Gregory Sharam, and Anthony R. E. Sinclair

10        Invertebrates of the Serengeti: Disturbance Effects on Arthropod Diversity and Abundance
Sara N. de Visser, Bernd P. Freymann, Robert F. Foster, Ally K. Nkwabi, Kristine L. Metzger, Andrew W. Harvey, and Anthony R. E. Sinclair

11        The Butterflies of Serengeti: Impact of Environmental Disturbance on Biodiversity
Anthony R. E. Sinclair, Ally K. Nkwabi, and Kristine L. Metzger

12        Small Mammal Diversity and Population Dynamics in the Greater Serengeti Ecosystem
Andrea E. Byrom, Wendy A. Ruscoe, Ally J. K. Nkwabi, Kristine L. Metzger, Guy J.Forrester, Meggan E. Craft, Sarah M. Durant, Stephen Makacha, John Bukombe, John Mchetto, Simon A. R. Mduma, Denne N. Reed, Katie Hampson, andAnthony R. E. Sinclair

13        Bird Diversity of the Greater Serengeti Ecosystem: Spatial Patterns of Taxonomic and Functional Richness and Turnover
Jill E. Jankowski, Anthony R. E. Sinclair, and Kristine L. Metzger

14        The Effect of Natural Disturbances on the Avian Community of the Serengeti Woodlands
Ally K. Nkwabi, Anthony R. E. Sinclair, Kristine L. Metzger,  and Simon A. R. Mduma

15        Carnivore Communities in the Greater Serengeti Ecosystem
Meggan E. Craft, Katie Hampson, Joseph O. Ogutu, and Sarah M. Durant

III. The Human Ecosystem and Its Response to Disturbance

16        The Plight of the People: Understanding the Social-Ecological Context of People Living on the Western Edge of Serengeti National Park
Eli J. Knapp, Dennis Rentsch, Jennifer Schmitt, and Linda M. Knapp

17        Transitions in the Ngorongoro Conservation Area: The Story of Land Use, Human Well-Being, and Conservation
Kathleen A. Galvin, Randall B. Boone, J. Terrence McCabe, Ann L. Magennis, and Tyler A. Beeton

18        Agricultural Expansion and Human Population Trends in the Greater Serengeti Ecosystem from 1984 to 2003
Anna B. Estes, T. Kuemmerle, H. Kushnir, V. C. Radeloff, and H. H. Shugart

19        Infectious Diseases in the Serengeti: What We Know and How We Know It
Tiziana Lembo, Harriet Auty, Katie Hampson, Meggan Craft, Andy Dobson, Robert Fyumagwa, Eblate Ernest, Dan Haydon, Richard Hoare, Magai Kaare,Felix Lankester, Titus Mlengeya, Dominic Travis, and Sarah Cleaveland

IV. Coupled Human-Natural Interactions

20        Socioecological Dynamics and Feedbacks in the Greater Serengeti Ecosystem
Ricardo M. Holdo and Robert D. Holt

21        Living in the Greater Serengeti Ecosystem: Human-Wildlife Conflict and Coexistence
Katie Hampson, J. Terrence McCabe, Anna Estes, Joseph O. Ogutu, Dennis Rentsch, Meggan Craft, Cuthbert B. Hemed, Eblate Ernest, Richard Hoare, Bernard Kissui, Lucas Malugu, Emmanuel Masenga, and Sarah Cleaveland.

V. Consequences of Disturbance for Policy, Management, and Conservation

22        Bushmeat Hunting in the Serengeti Ecosystem: An Assessment of Drivers and Impact on Migratory and Nonmigratory Wildlife
Dennis Rentsch, Ray Hilborn, Eli J. Knapp, Kristine L. Metzger, and Martin Loibooki

23        Human Health in the Greater Serengeti Ecosystem
Linda M. Knapp, Eli J. Knapp, Kristine L. Metzger, Dennis Rentsch, Rene Beyers, Katie Hampson, Jennifer Schmitt, Sarah Cleaveland, and Kathleen Galvin

24        Multiple Functions and Institutions: Management Complexity in the Serengeti Ecosystem
Deborah Randall, Anke Fischer, Alastair Nelson, Maurus Msuha, Asanterabi Lowassa, and Camilla Sandström

25        Sustainability of the Serengeti-Mara Ecosystem for Wildlife and People
Robin S. Reid, Kathleen A. Galvin, Eli J. Knapp, Joseph O. Ogutu, and Dickson S. Kaelo

VI. Synthesis

26        The Role of Research in Conservation and the Future of Serengeti
Anthony R. E. Sinclair, Julius D. Keyyu, Simon A. R. Mduma, Mtango Mtahiko, Emily Kisamo, J. Grant C. Hopcraft, John Fryxell, Kristine L. Metzger, and Markus Borner

27        The Future of Conservation: Lessons from the Serengeti
Anthony R. E. Sinclair, Andy Dobson, Kristine L. Metzger, John Fryxell, and Simon A. R. Mduma



Choice Magazine: CHOICE Outstanding Academic Title Awards

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