Predicting conflict over scarce resources: Chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes verus) and Fulɓe pastoralists
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The western chimpanzee (Pan troglodytes verus) is considered the most endangered subspecies of chimpanzee. The populations living at the furthest extent of its range, in southern Senegal – a country situated directly south of the Sahara Desert - are considered to be nearly extinct. These ‘savanna chimpanzees’ have adapted to living in an arid environment and are now facing more threats to their survival as climate change and deforestation have forced nomadic pastoralists further into their habitat in search of fodder and water. Combining field-collected data on both chimpanzee and pastoralist habitat use with GIS and remote sensing data, I spatially predicted areas of potential habitat conflict among chimpanzees and pastoralists. Using species distribution modeling, I found that large swaths of forested habitat in Bandafassi are predicted to be used by nomadic pastoralists. Their presence is expected in 86 percent of the land which is predicted to be used by chimpanzees. Statistical modeling using the Dirichlet distribution predicted overuse of gallery forests by herders. Since herders remove most of the crowns of 9 species of trees, 7 of which provide important resources for chimpanzees, the impact of herders on chimpanzee resources is likely detrimental. Strategies to protect chimpanzee habitat and increase resources for herders should be considered in community-based conservation projects.
DepartmentNicholas School of the Environment and Earth Sciences
Species distribution modeling
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