October 31st – Ecology of the Tibetan Plateau

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An illustrated talk from David Thomas: The Tibetan Plateau is exceptional for its huge extent of high (around 4000m, 13,000 ft asl, & higher) and rather dry land. The scarce precipitation allows only treeless vegetation of grasses, sedges, forbs & short shrubs, and the altitude means that temperatures are relatively low for the latitude (windy & down to -40°C in winter). Nonetheless, the plateau has a remarkably diverse fauna of mammals, birds and other animals.  Moreover, travellers’ accounts from soon before & after 1900 record remarkably high populations of gazelles, wild yaks & kiangs (wild horses). The question is: how did such large populations of several species coexist and all get a good livings from such a dry, cold environment? And there’s some (relatively) good news: while most of the 20th century saw huge reductions in the populations of these large herbivores, significant changes since the 1980s/90s have allowed considerable recovery of numbers.
Devon Mammal Group talk Tibet
In the 1980s I did a lot of homework on this area for 2 ecology projects which never came off, which left me reasonably well-informed when I finally had the chance to visit the Tibetan plateau and see some of its wildlife in autumn 2016.  My talk will be illustrated with photos from this trip.

Wednesday October 31st at 7pm at Jury’s Inn, Western Way, Exeter EX1 2DB

(by the Vue cinema, free parking nearby after 6pm)


To book please email events@devonmammalgroup.org or 07709686772

£1.50 for members or £3 non-members.

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