Vanishing wildlife corridors and options for restoration: a case study from Tanzania
journal contributionposted on 2023-07-26, 13:26 authored by Trevor Jones, Andrew J. Bamford, Daniella Ferrol-Schulte, Proches Hieronimo, Nicholas McWilliam, Francesco Rovero
Conserving wildlife corridors is increasingly important for maintaining ecological and genetic connectivity in times of unprecedented habitat fragmentation. Documenting connectivity loss, assessing root causes, and exploring restoration options are therefore priority conservation goals. A 2009 nationwide assessment in Tanzania documented 31 major remaining corridors, the majority of which were described as threatened. The corridor between the Udzungwa Mountains and the Selous Game Reserve in south-central Tanzania, a major link between western and southern wildlife communities, especially for the African elephant Loxodonta africana, provides an illuminating case study. A preliminary assessment in 2005 found that connectivity was barely persisting via two remaining routes. Here we present assessments of these two corridors conducted from 2007-2010, using a combination of dung surveys, habitat mapping and questionnaires. We found that both corridor routes have become closed over the last five years. Increased farming and livestock keeping, associated with both local immigration and population growth, were the main reasons for corridor blockage. However, continued attempts by elephants to cross by both routes suggest that connectivity can be restored. This entails a process of harmonizing differing land owners and uses towards a common goal. We provide recommendations for restoring lost connectivity and discuss the prospects for preventing further loss of corridors across the country.
Publication titleTropical Conservation Science
- Published version