Spatial statistics to quantify patterns of herd dispersion in a Savanna herbivore community

A. Stein, N.J. Georgiadis

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterAcademicpeer-review

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Abstract

Understanding the spatial distribution of species is a fundamental issue in ecology, yet quantitative descriptions of animal species' distributions are rare. In this chapter, we use a spatialstatistics approach to describe the spatial distribution of herds of large herbivores in Laikipia, central Kenya. We used Global Positioning System technology and spatial point pattern analysis (F-, G- and J-functions) to characterise herd distributions of the 9 most abundant species comprising large herbivore communities in African savannas. F-function analysis is based on estimating the probability of a herd occurring within radius r of randomly selected focal points. G-function analysis is similar, but based on randomly selected focal herds. The J-function is derived from the ratio of G- and F-functions. Comparing results from the different functions was instructive about possible causes of spatial patterning at the landscape level. All species displayed consistently aggregated distributions under F- and J-function analyses, partly because wildlife has been displaced by humans and livestock from sections of the study area. By contrast, the G-function provides a description of dispersion under more natural conditions because areas lacking herds are excluded from the analysis. G-function results showed 5 species to display random or nearly random dispersion patterns (zebra, impala, Grant's gazelle, eland and hartebeest), while the remainder were aggregated (African elephant, giraffe, African buffalo and Thomson's gazelle).
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationResource ecology
Subtitle of host publicationSpatial and temporal dynamics of foraging
EditorsHerbert H.T. Prins, Frank Langevelde
Place of PublicationWageningen, The Netherlands
PublisherSpringer
Pages33-51
ISBN (Electronic)978-1-4020-6849-2
ISBN (Print)978-1-4020-6849-2, 978-1-4020-6848-5
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2008

Publication series

NameWageningen UR Frontis Series
PublisherSpringer
Volume23

Keywords

  • EOS
  • ADLIB-ART-270

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