EVALUATION OF DAMAGE CAUSED BY ELEPHANTS (Elephasmaximusmaximus) TO THE WOODY VEGETATION IN UDAWALAWE NATIONAL PARK

N. ANGAMMANA, K.B. RANAWANA, G. ELLEPOLA

Abstract


Elephants can have profound effects on the structure and composition on woodlands. In this study, the damage caused by elephants to woody plants in the Udawalawe National Park was investigated.The study was carried out in three major habitat types in the Udawalawe National Park, namely grasslands, scrub forestsand tall forests.Five plots were established in each habitat. Types of damages caused to the woody plants were categorized in to six main groups viz, crown damage, bark removal, branch damage, pushing down, partially damaged and totally damaged. Plant species which were highly vulnerable for elephant damages and the areas in which elephant damages are high were identified.These results were used to identify the food preferences of elephants, highly recorded damage types and the area which they prefer to stay.
Based on the intensity of damages the study revealed that, crown damages, branch damages, pushing down and bark removal as highly recorded damage categories in the three habitats. Bauhiniarecemosa, Phyllanthuspolyphyllus, Limoniaacidissimaand Diospyrosovalifolia were the species that were more susceptible for elephant damages and the grassland habitats were the areas where elephant damages were high.


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