Functional Role of Elephants in Maintaining Forest Ecosystem and Biodiversity: Lessons from Northwestern Elephant Range in India
Asian Journal of Environment & Ecology,
This article focuses on the functional role of Asian elephant in maintaining forest ecosystem and biodiversity. Elephant performs different activities in forest which greatly influence ecosystem processes, plant communities and trophic structure of the community. Elephants have cascading effects in altering the vegetation regeneration and providing habitat, water and nutrients to other animals. Besides, elephants also have affirmative effects in controlling illegal poaching, promoting ecotourism and act as an indicator species to know about natural calamities. The information compiled in the present note is based on the literature available and field experience gained in the Rajaji National Park, India. Since elephants play a crucial role in ecological trajectories of ecological communities, developing a rigorous framework to evaluate the qualitative influence made by the elephants in ecosystem would be of paramount importance.
- Asian elephant
- northwestern India
- forest ecosystem
How to Cite
Gascon C, Brooks TM, Contreras-MacBeath T, Heard N, Konstant W, Lamoreux J, et al. The importance and benefits of species. Current Biology. 2015; 25(10):431–438.
Jordano P. Chasing Ecological Interactions. PLoS Biology. 2016;14(9): e1002559.
Anon, Ecosystem Functions, 2017. (Retrived January 25th, 2019)
Caughley G. The elephant problem – an alternative hypothesis. East African Wildlife Journal. 1976;14:265–283.
Kerley GIH, Landman M, Kruger L, Owen-Smith N, Balfour D, Boer WF, et al. Effects of elephants on ecosystems and biodiversity. In: Elephant management, a scientific assessment for South Africa (Ed. Scholes RJ, Mennell KG.), South Africa: Wits University Press, Johannesburg. 2016;146-205.
Kerley GIH, Landman M. The Impacts of Elephants on Biodiversity in the Eastern Cape Subtropical Thickets. South African Journal of Science. 2006;102:395-402.
Plotnik JM, Waal FB. Asian elephants (Elephas maximus) reassure others in distress. Peer J. 2014;2:e278.
Holdrege C. The Flexible Giant, Seeing the Elephant Whole, New York: The Nature Institute. 2003;52.
Rangarajan M, Desai A, Sukumar R, Easa PS, Menon V, Vincent S, et al. Gajah: Securing the Future for Elephants in India. Report of the Elephant Task Force, Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, Government of India, New Delhi; 2010.
Joshi R. Wanderers of Rajaji: Are elephants learning new lessons in the changing environment?. Current Science. 2017;112(9):1808-1811.
Campos-Arceiz A, Larrinaga AR, Weerasinghe UR, Takatsuki S, Pastorini J, Leimgruber P, et al. Behavior rather than diet mediates seasonal differences in seed dispersal by Asian elephants. Ecology. 2008;89(10):2684-2691.
Sukumar R. Elephant days and nights: ten years with the Indian elephant, Oxford University Press, New Delhi; 1994.
Desai A. The Indian elephant, New Delhi & Mumbai: Vigyan Prasar and Sanctuary Magazine publication (NCSTC-Hornbill Natural History Series); 1997.
Davis S. “Endozoochory in Subtropical Thicket: comparing effects of species with different digestive systems on seed fate,” M.Sc. thesis, Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University, South Africa; 2007.
Campos-Arceiz A, Blake S. Megagardeners of the forest – the role of elephants in seed dispersal. Acta Oecologica. 2011;37:542-553.
Corlett RT. The importance of animals in the forest: Managing the future of Southeast Asia's valuable tropical rainforests, R Wickneswari and C Cannon (eds), Dordrecht: Springer, 2011;83-92.
Anon, Elephants, the ecosystem’s engineers, gardeners and architects: Think Elephants International; 2012.
(Retrived January 1st, 2019)
McKay GM. Behavior and ecology of the Asiatic elephant in southeastern Ceylon, Smithsonian Contributions to Zoology, 125, Washington, DC: Smithsonian Institution Scholarly Press; 1973.
Ramey EM, Ramey RR, Brown LM, Kelley ST. Desert-dwelling African elephants (Loxodonta africana) in Namibia dig wells to purify drinking water. Pachyderm 2013; 53:66-72.
Anon, Did animals sense Tsunami was coming?, National Geographic News, 2005.
O'Connell-Rodwell CE.. Keeping an "ear" to the ground: seismic communication in elephants. Physiology 2007;22:287- 94.
Anon., Scientists unravel the secret world of elephant communication, Phys Org; 2005.
(Retrived January 1st, 2019)
Streby HM, Kramer GR, Peterson SM, Lehman JA, Buehler DA, Andersen DE. Tornadic Storm Avoidance Behavior in Breeding Songbirds. Current Biology. 2015;25(1):98-102.
Abstract View: 2358 times
PDF Download: 1333 times