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Notes on the ecology of southern African tortoises

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Description: A predictive distribution model, GARP, is used to create areas of tortoise coexistence in southern Africa in a raster GIS. Variables determined to be critical are compared to qualitatively assess classical and contemporary interpretations of niche. The method of determining critical variables is tested along a gradient of predictive values. Predictions made from a greater delineation of variables tend to support classical niche definitions while predictions made from truncated variables tend to support contemporary interpretations of niche. Life history traits of tortoises confound results for either niche definition as tested with this study. Predictive maps are shown with a layer depicting traditional quarter degree grid locations. Of seven areas predicted to have high coexistence, one is well protected in Kruger National Park, two are in relatively undisturbed and unprotected areas, two may be lost to anthropogenic disturbance, and three have a mixed opportunity for conservation.
Language: English
Format: Degree Work