Understanding large mammalian metapopulation trends in Sub-Saharan Africa: a meta-analysis and supporting conceptual model.
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Populations of many mammalian species are under pressure due to fragmentation and isolation of their habitat. They are often confined to designated protected areas and are surrounded by unsuitable habitats, such as human settlements. Nevertheless, for populations to persist without active human involvement, they depend on individuals' exchange, thus needing to venture out into this unsuitable habitat. Different parameters of population dynamics influence these fragmented populations. However, research is often specified to one population or species only. A general understanding can help to uncover the most pressing problems for these populations. This thesis investigates the impacts of different population dynamics parameters on large mammalian species' metapopulation trends in Sub-Saharan Africa by synthesizing results from several studies. This was done using a meta-analysis, yielding a total of 35 papers. Next to a meta-analysis, a conceptual model was used to perform several thought experiments on the influence of two parameters. The meta-analysis showed that several parameters were more researched and impacting than others, and several in(consistencies) were found regarding impacts and the implications that authors mentioned. In conclusion, the mortality rate and individuals' ability to disperse from their habitat were most impacting on metapopulation trends. The results have some implications for both future research as the course of conservation, indicating that a shift in conservation might be in order to secure the viability of metapopulations.