Saturday, April 24, 2010

Mor Kwan's Elephant Clinic: What do you know about "KEYSTONE SPECIES" ?

What do you know about “KEYSTONE SPECIES” ? Elephants are regarded as important keystone species having a great impact upon the structure of ecosystems they inhabit. There is a great deal of playing crucial role in sustaining suitable habitat environment and benefiting many other species.
The architect of forest is one alias called the elephants because of their ingestion and locomotion. The elephants consume enormous amount of major food consisting of various plants and fruits that some plants with thick shells may be broken by only elephant chewing. Moreover, when the elephants walk through a forest many miles daily, they excrete dung deposited on the elephant's roaming. Several plant species also have developed from seed that depend on passing through an elephant's digestive system and optimal conditions before they can germinate. For this reason, various seed and grain in the dung providing the great fertilizer can be dispersed in different areas and generates new plant growth all over the forest.
In the thick forest, the elephants sometimes pull down trees and break up bushes when they travel in the wild to pass through dense areas and forage food. These activities open up tree canopies covering the top of trees and create clearings to allow sunlight to reach the ground that give a chance for new plant regeneration. In addition, the elephants pull down branches and creeping plants on the top of trees or remove shrubs to allow grasses to grow as the elephants help bring down vegetation for smaller species.
On the way that the elephants use in their environment, many traces such as footprint, and hole were occurred. When rain falls into these traces, newly little pools are available for others. Besides, during drought causing water deficiencies, the elephant’s abilities to locate and dig hole to expose underground water resource provide many species to access water.
To supplement the diet, the elephants will seek for soil region called salt lick which is an important resource composing of abundant minerals and trace elements such as sodium, potassium, calcium, manganese, copper, and zinc. The elephants often visit salt lick that contains the mineral they need when the elephants do not get enough minerals from plants and water supplies. Certain salt lick is underground that the elephants may open it up by their tusks to utilize. However, salt lick is not necessary only for the elephants, but it is also a potential nutritional supply for both herbivores and carnivores.
The relationship between ecosystems and all species diversity is very complicated correlation that cannot be broken away. If anything gets impact, other compositions of all together with human cannot avoid aftereffects. Because of the elephant’s importance in numerous ways for maintaining a natural balance, the diminution of elephants results in directly serious environmental degradation with biodiversity loss and all life on earth.

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