Interactions between Termite Mounds, trees, and the Zemba People in the Mopane Savanna in northwestern Namibia
Termite mounds comprise a significant part of the landscape in northwestern Namibia. The vegetation type in this area is mopane vegetation, a vegetation type unique to southern Africa. In the area where I conducted research, almost all termite mounds coexisted with trees, of which 80% were mopane. The rate at which trees withered was higher on the termite mounds than outside them, and few saplings, seedlings, or grasses grew on the mounds, indicating that termite mounds could cause trees to wither and suppress the growth of plants. However, even though termite mounds appeared to have a negative impact on vegetation, they could actually have positive effects on the growth of mopane vegetation. Moreover local people use the soil of termite mounds as construction material, and this utilization may have an effect on vegetation change if they are removing the mounds that are inhospitable for the growth of plants. Consequently, both termite mounds and human activities should be taken into account as factors affecting mopane vegetation. Keywords: Mopane Vegetation, Termite Mounds, Utilization of termite Mounds, Vegetation change.
African Study Monographs
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