Conservation of mammals on a tobacco farm on the Highlands of Malawi

Conservation of mammals on a tobacco farm on the Highlands of Malawi The natural vegetation of the Shire Highlands of Malawi has become fragmented because of human activities. As a consequence, some species of mammals have become locally extinct and the population numbers and geographical ranges of other species have declined. This study investigated the species richness of mammals on a commercial tobacco farm, and the importance of remnants of natural vegetation on farms for the conservation of mammals. The farm covered 180 ha and supported 44 species of mammals (equivalent to 66% of the species known to occur in the Shire Highlands at a similar altitude, and 24% of the total mammalian fauna of Malawi). Most of the species were bats (22 species) and rodents (13 species). The largest remnants of natural 'miombo' woodland supported more species and more individuals than smaller remnants. The high species richness was due, in part, to the variety of different habitats on the farm ('miombo' woodland, riverine forest, grassland, swamp, streams and dams), as well as to good conservation practices. The farm is especially important for the conservation of 13 species which are rare and/or have limited geographical ranges in Malawi. It is suggested that well-managed farms which contain remnants of natural vegetation can play a significant role in the conservation of mammals, and other vertebrates, in Central Africa. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Biodiversity and Conservation Springer Journals

Conservation of mammals on a tobacco farm on the Highlands of Malawi

Biodiversity and Conservation, Volume 6 (6) – Oct 15, 2004

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Publisher
Springer Journals
Copyright
Copyright © 1997 by Chapman and Hall
Subject
Life Sciences; Evolutionary Biology; Tree Biology; Plant Sciences
ISSN
0960-3115
eISSN
1572-9710
D.O.I.
10.1023/B:BIOC.0000010405.83675.2f
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

The natural vegetation of the Shire Highlands of Malawi has become fragmented because of human activities. As a consequence, some species of mammals have become locally extinct and the population numbers and geographical ranges of other species have declined. This study investigated the species richness of mammals on a commercial tobacco farm, and the importance of remnants of natural vegetation on farms for the conservation of mammals. The farm covered 180 ha and supported 44 species of mammals (equivalent to 66% of the species known to occur in the Shire Highlands at a similar altitude, and 24% of the total mammalian fauna of Malawi). Most of the species were bats (22 species) and rodents (13 species). The largest remnants of natural 'miombo' woodland supported more species and more individuals than smaller remnants. The high species richness was due, in part, to the variety of different habitats on the farm ('miombo' woodland, riverine forest, grassland, swamp, streams and dams), as well as to good conservation practices. The farm is especially important for the conservation of 13 species which are rare and/or have limited geographical ranges in Malawi. It is suggested that well-managed farms which contain remnants of natural vegetation can play a significant role in the conservation of mammals, and other vertebrates, in Central Africa.

Journal

Biodiversity and ConservationSpringer Journals

Published: Oct 15, 2004

References

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