Addressing management questions for Ngorongoro Conservation Area, Tanzania, using the Savanna modelling system
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Ngorongoro Conservation Area (NCA), in northern Tanzania, is a multiple-use area of importance to Maasai pastoralists and wildlife conservation. We adapted the Savanna modelling system to the NCA, creating an Integrated Management and Assessment System that allows users to assess responses to alternative management actions. We used the system to conduct fifteen experiments reflecting potential management questions. Results suggest that: the distribution of rainfall throughout the year may have a greater impact on the ecosystem than its quantity; cattle may be near a carrying capacity determined not by forage limitations but because of disease risks; increasing survival and reducing disease in livestock yields greater returns than increasing birth rates; allowing livestock to graze in areas where they are currently excluded may lead to a slight increase in livestock populations, but sometimes leads to large declines in wildlife populations; few ecosystem effects were noted when households and cultivation were allowed to grow at 3% per year for 15 years; and when up to 5% of the study area was in cultivation, there were declines 16% in livestock and wildlife populations, except for elephants, which declined by 48%. Users may modify our experiments using tools we have developed, or address other NCA management questions.
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