School of Science
Invasion of Acacia nilotica in Baluran National Park, East Java Province, Indonesia, has caused significant loss to savanna cover which is the main natural feature of the park. This study aimed to describe whether water buffalo may play a role in the dispersal of Acacia nilotica seed in Bekol Savanna usinganalysis of buffalo stools/scats, observations and seed experiments. In total there were 30 plots set up around the Bekol Savanna to collect buffalo stools. In addition,A. nilotica pods matured from its trees were collected, as controls. Germination tests were conducted on seeds that were extracted from the collected stools and from pods (control). Some intact stools were left as they were to let the stored seeds germinate directly from the stools. Viability test on seeds was also conducted using tetrazolium solution. This study indicated that buffalo proved to be legitimate dispersers of A. nilotica seeds. The potential ofbuffalo acting as dispersal agent is apparent from the vast number of seeds found in their stools and the finding that although buffalo ingested the seeds, this caused no apparent damage to seeds. Result from tetrazolium test showed that both herbivore-grazed seeds and control seeds haveconsiderable good viability percentages of around 60-70%. This study led to conclusionsthat buffalo ingestion might not have direct scarification on the A. nilotica seeds which then leads to a higher number of germination as the percentage ofgermination was similar between control and grazed seed. However, buffalo stools mightact as an important microsite that benefits A. nilotica seeds and young seedlings. Buffalo stool might provide moist conditions that protect seeds from extreme air temperatures at Baluran Savanna.