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Title:'The fertile brain and inventive power of man': anthropogenic factors in the cessation of springbok treks and the disruption of the Karoo ecosystem, 1865-1908
Author:Roche, ChrisISNI
Year:2008
Periodical:Africa: Journal of the International African Institute
Volume:78
Issue:2
Pages:157-188
Language:English
Geographic term:South Africa
Subjects:wild animals
ecosystems
environmental degradation
colonists
animal diseases
1850-1899
External links:https://doi.org/10.3366/E0001972008000120
http://muse.jhu.edu/journals/africa_the_journal_of_the_international_african_institute/v078/78.2.roche.pdf
Abstract:The demise of springbok treks, the irruptive migration patterns of the species in South Africa's Karoo region, has long been attributed to the rinderpest epizootic understood to have coincided in both time and space with the last of the great springbok treks. This is incorrect. Instead the cessation of springbok treks can be attributed to a variety of anthropogenic factors. This article first examines and then rejects the case for rinderpest, before introducing alternative causal factors such as the increase in livestock and human populations, the effects of fencing and the double impact of hunting and concomitant drought. These factors, it is argued, acted in concert to effectively remove the conditions necessary for springbok treks and thereby end the phenomenon. It is suggested that the local extinction of this phenomenon - a keystone species and process - is an important and heretofore unconsidered element in the decline of the Karoo ecosystem. Bibliogr., notes, ref., sum. in English and French. [Journal abstract]
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