Coastal Dune Forest Rehabilitation:A Case Study on Rodent and Bird Assemblages in Northern Kwazulu-Natal, South Africa.
In: Coastal Dunes: pp.103-115. DOI: 10.1007/978-3-540-74002-5_7 .
Coastal dune forests in northern KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa, are continually exposed to natural and man-induced disturbances that usually initiate ecological succession (van Aarde et al. 1996a; Mentis and Ellery 1994). This succession is associated with temporal and spatial changes in vegetation structure that influence habitat suitability and ultimately the structure of vertebrate communities living there. For example, in the case of birds, we know from studies conducted elsewhere that species richness and diversity correlates with vegetation structural heterogeneity (see Kritzinger and van Aarde 1998 for references).Vegetation succession is also known to affect small mammals (Foster and Gaines 1991), though the patterns recorded in coastal dune forests are less obvious than those for birds (see Ferreira and van Aarde 1999 for references).