Life-sized experiments

The Hwange LTSER offers outstanding opportunities for experimentation on a large scale, in certain parts of the Park and in its periphery as the Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management Authority has always made these possible.


♦ Exclosures to measure the impact of large  herbivores on the vegetation.

♦ Fertilization (nitrogen, phosphorus and nitrogen + phosphorus) to manipulate the nutrient cycle and assess the response of grasses and woody plants (growth, reproduction, interspecies competition) to nutrient constraints.

♦ Standardized N, P, K fertilization to create enriched foraging zones with the objective of testing the foraging-vigilance trade-off associated with changes in food patch quality and predation risk.

♦ Manipulation of risk perception (by sound and olfactory stimuli) to study the role of predators in the behaviour of herbivores (e.g. vigilance, social aggregation, temporal niche change).

♦ Participatory experiments in communal areas to evaluate the effect of agricultural practices and guarding on the risks of crop damage, and the implementation of passive methods of protection (e.g. use of hive barriers to keep elephants away from crops).