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Fruit production by Acacia albida trees in Zambezi riverine woodlands

  • Kevin M. Dunham (a1)

Fruit production by Acacia albida (Leguminosae: Mimosoideae) trees in Mana Pools National Park, Zimbabwe, was monitored over eight years. Timing of ripe fruit-fall varied between years, as did fruit production: production of ripe fruits by the same tree varied from 5.4 kg in 1983 to 290.1 kg in 1988. Baboons reduced fruit production by feeding on unripe fruits and the mass eaten each year was negatively correlated with rainfall. Potential fruit production (i.e. production in the absence of baboons) was high when the late wet season was wet or cool and when fruit production in the previous year was low. Late wet season rainfall and temperature probably determined the degree of defoliation by caterpillars: in 1983 and 1987, when the late wet season was hot and dry, the trees were almost completely defoliated. During the late dry season, A. albida fruits were an important component of the diets of waterbuck, eland, elephant, buffalo and kudu; they were seldom eaten by hippopotamus and were ignored by zebra and warthog.

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K. M. Dunham 1980. The diet of impala in the Sengwa Wildlife Research Area, Rhodesia. Journal of Zoology, London 192:4157.

K. M. Dunham 1989b. Vegetation-environment relations of a Middle Zambezi floodplain. Vegetatio 82:1324.

K. M. Dunham 1989c. Longterm changes in Zambezi riparian woodlands, as revealed by photopano-ramas. African Journal of Ecology 27:263275.

P. J. Jarman 1972. Seasonal distribution of large mammal populations in the unflooded Middle Zambezi Valley. Journal of Applied Ecology 9:283299.

P.J. Jarman 1976. Damage to Acacia tortilis seeds eaten by impala. East African Wildlife Journal 14:223225.

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G. E. Wickens 1969. A study of Acacia albida Del. (Mimosoideae). Kew Bulletin 23:181202.

R. W. Wrangham & P. G. Waterman 1981. Feeding behaviour of Vervet monkeys on Acacia tortilis and Acacia xanthophloea with special reference to reproductive strategies and tannin production. Journal of Animal Ecology 50:715731.

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Journal of Tropical Ecology
  • ISSN: 0266-4674
  • EISSN: 1469-7831
  • URL: /core/journals/journal-of-tropical-ecology
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