Trophic Cascades in the Serengeti




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TOPIC 1. Trophic Cascades in the Serengeti

Rinderpest eradication in Serengeti taught us that diseases played an important role in the ecosystem. Rinderpest eradication lead to explosion of wildebeests, trees and also giraffe population. This is because fires and grazing activities reduced. Fire reduction allowed growth of trees. Fires and herbivores play a role of reducing the number of trees in the ecosystem. Eradicating rinderpest reduced forest fires and grazing leading to growth of trees (De Castro & Bolker, 2005). Vaccination and eradication of rinderpest lead to serious growth of wildebeests which are the ecosystem’s predators. Rinderpest eradication proved that they were playing an important role in maintaining a balance of species in the East Africa. After eradication, wildebeests increased by 1.3 million.

To conclude, eradication of rinderpest in East Africa proves that every organism play an important role in ecosystem balancing (Spinage, 2012). This means that if one organism is removed in the ecosystem, there may lead to negative and positive impacts as each depend on each other.


Spinage, C. A. (2012). Rinderpest the Great Panzootic and Its After Effects. In African Ecology (pp. 1053-1099). Springer, Berlin, Heidelberg.

De Castro, F., & Bolker, B. (2005). Mechanisms of disease‐induced extinction. Ecology Letters8(1), 117-126.

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