Scielo RSS <![CDATA[Bothalia - African Biodiversity & Conservation ]]> vol. 49 num. 1 lang. pt <![CDATA[SciELO Logo]]> <![CDATA[<b>How far and how old: Longevity and displacement records from the South African Bird Ringing Scheme for Ardeidae, Threskiornithidae and Ciconiidae</b>]]> BACKGROUND: Understanding the movement and displacement of individuals within avian species is important for conservation. Herons, Storks and Egrets are especially important as they are migratory species and are potential indicator species. It is therefore valuable to set life history baselines to understand survival. OBJECTIVES: To establish baseline longevity and displacement values for the avian families Ardeidae, Threskiornithidae and Ciconiidae using the South African Bird Ringing Scheme (SAFRING) data for Africa and to highlight gaps in the SAFRING database for these families. METHOD: We used data archives of ringed and subsequently reported individuals to determine maximum displacement and longevities from the past seven decades for each species within these three families. Displacement was estimated by the straight-line distance between subsequent records for the same individual. Longevity is the measure of time elapsed in records for the same individual. RESULTS: Displacement and longevity data were available for 17 of the 24 species in the focus families. Individuals of most of the species were ringed as nestlings so displacement records may represent dispersal. Displacement ranged from a maximum of 10 114 km for a White Stork (Ciconia ciconia) to 2.5 km for a Little Bittern (Ixobrychus minutus). Several species are poorly sampled, resulting in longevity records of just a few days. Despite that, longevity values were > 5 years for 16 species, and the highest value was 25.3 years for a White Stork. CONCLUSION: It was possible to determine longevity values for most of the species within the three families investigated. Based on the displacement profiles for species with sufficient records, there are large differences in movement between species. Certain common species such as Purple Heron (Ardea purpurea) have very few ringing records, which indicate a need for further species-specific research as the longevity values are not representative. This could greatly benefit studies aiming to use these species as ecosystem health indicators as well as identify which species are at risk. <![CDATA[<b>Vegetation, floristic composition and structure of a tropical montane forest in Cameroon</b>]]> BACKGROUND: The Rumpi Hills Forest Reserve (RHFR) is a montane forest area in south-western Cameroon. Although RHFR is presumed to be rich in biodiversity and vegetation types, little information exists regarding its floristic composition and vegetation patterns. OBJECTIVES: Our goal was to characterise vegetation patterns in the reserve and to understand how elevation influences distributions and diversity of species. We aimed to provide a first detailed plant species inventory for this important forest area, as well as basic information on forest structure. METHOD: We characterised floristic composition and vegetation patterns of the reserve in 25 1-ha plots along an elevational gradient from 50 m to 1778 m. In each plot, trees and lianas of diameter at breast height (dbh) ≥ 10 cm were measured; shrubs < 10 cm were measured in nested plots of 0.01 ha. RESULTS: In all, 16 761 trees, shrubs and lianas with dbh ≥ 1 cm were censused, representing 71 families, 279 genera and 617 morphospecies. Floristic composition ranged from 94 to 132 species, with a mean of 117.5 species per hectare in lowland forest (50 m - 200 m) and 36-41 species, with a mean of 38.5 species per hectare in montane cloud forest (1600 m - 1778 m) near the summit of Mount Rata. Two-way indicator species analysis classified the 25 plots into six vegetation types corresponding to lowland evergreen rainforest, lowland evergreen rainforest on basalt rocks, middle-elevation evergreen forest, submontane forest, transitional submontane forest and montane cloud forest. In all, 0.006% of the reserve was included in our sample plots. Detrended correspondence analysis highlighted the importance of elevation in shaping vegetation patterns. CONCLUSION: The RHFR is composed of different vegetation types, which show impressive variation in terms of structure, species composition and diversity. The detailed, fine-scale inventory data obtained in this study could be useful in planning efficient management of this and other montane tropical forests. <![CDATA[<b>Distribution of invasive alien <i>Tithonia</i> (Asteraceae) species in eastern and southern Africa and the socio-ecological impacts of <i>T. diversifolia</i> in Zambia</b>]]> BACKGROUND: Many alien plant species, such as Tithonia diversifolia, T. rotundifolia and T. tubaeformis, have been introduced to areas outside of their natural distribution range to provide benefits, but have subsequently become invasive, threatening biodiversity and agricultural productivity. OBJECTIVES: The aim of this study was to determine the current distribution and dates of introduction of invasive Tithonia species in eastern and southern Africa and to document the effects of T. diversifolia on rural livelihoods in Zambia. METHOD: Roadside surveys, and other sources of information, were used to determine the distribution of invasive Tithonia species in eastern and southern Africa. Household interviews were conducted to gauge perceptions and understand the impacts of T. diversifolia on local livelihoods in Zambia's Copperbelt province. RESULTS: Tithonia diversifolia is widespread in Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania, South Africa, Malawi and parts of Zambia but less so in Zimbabwe. Tithonia rotundifolia was comparatively uncommon in eastern Africa but common in some southern African countries, while T. tubaeformis was invasive in Swaziland, South Africa, Zambia and possibly also Zimbabwe. According to the majority of respondents in Zambia, T. diversifolia has negative impacts on native vegetation, mobility or access, water availability, crop yields and animal health. CONCLUSION: Invasive Tithonia species are widespread and spreading throughout much of Africa. Livelihood and biodiversity costs have not been considered by those actively promoting the use and further dissemination of T. diversifolia. We therefore recommend that detailed cost-benefit studies should be undertaken to support informed decisions on the future management of these species. <![CDATA[<b>Fifty shades of red: Lost or threatened bryophytes in Africa</b>]]> BACKGROUND: A Red List of threatened bryophytes is lacking for Africa. The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Species Survival Commission (SSC) Bryophyte Specialist Group has recently launched the 'Top 10 Initiative' to identify the 10 species on each continent that are at highest risk of extinction. OBJECTIVES: The main aim of this paper was to highlight some of the lost or strongly threatened bryophyte species in sub-Saharan Africa and the East African islands and to draw up a Top 10 list for Africa METHOD: Lost or threatened species have been identified with the help of experts on the bryoflora of Africa, global and regional Red Lists and taxonomic literature. Each species on this candidate list is discussed at the hand of its taxonomy, distribution, habitat, threat and current global or regional Red List status as far as previously assessed. RESULTS: Fifty bryophyte species, representing 40 genera and 23 families, have been identified as Top 10 candidates. Of these, 29 are endemic to Africa and 21 are restricted to the East African islands. The majority of the candidate species occur in one of eight 'biodiversity hotspots' with most species (19) in the Madagascar and the Indian Ocean Islands hotspot. CONCLUSION: This is the first list of lost or threatened bryophytes for Africa and the first Top 10 list of the IUCN Bryophyte Specialist Group. It represents an important step towards regional and global Red List assessment of bryophytes, thus meeting the targets of the Updated Global Strategy for Plant Conservation 2011-2020 and priorities of The Shenzhen Declaration on Plant Sciences. <![CDATA[<b>Hitchhikers' guide to the legal context of protected area management plans in South Africa</b>]]> BACKGROUND: Although formal protected areas in South Africa date back to the turn of the 19th century, requirements for protected area management plans only became mandatory a century later. Prior to the promulgation of the World Heritage Convention Act 49 in 1999, and subsequently the National Environmental Management: Protected Areas Act 57 in 2003, requirements for management plans were voluntary, and guidance to the plan's content was fragmented across an array of international, national and provincial policy instruments. OBJECTIVES: As there has been little academic debate on the relevance and content of protected area management plans, an improved understanding of these plans, and the role they play in biodiversity conservation, is required. METHOD: This article explores the evolution of the management plan, revisiting its historical and current legal context at international and national scales RESULTS: Despite being the principal legislative framework for management plans, the World Heritage Convention Act and the National Environmental Management Protected Area Act did not consolidate the plethora of management plan requirements, and hence did not bring clarity when these conflicted or were ambiguous. CONCLUSION: Legal provisions for management plans are highly fragmented. This risks plans not being complete, falling short of the requirement to ensure that protected areas fulfil the purpose for which they were established. A consolidation of relevant provisions, as well as emerging best practices is recommended. This may require the revision of South Africa's environmental law, to provide greater clarity on the contemporary understanding of the contribution of protected areas to conservation and the well-being of people (viz. the 'purpose'). <![CDATA[<b>A new name in southern African <i>Justicia</i> L. (Acanthaceae)</b>]]> BACKGROUND: Ongoing systematic studies in the African flora necessitate periodic nomenclatural adjustments and corrections. OBJECTIVES: The objective of this study was to effect requisite nomenclatural changes. METHOD: Relevant literature was consulted and type specimens were examined. RESULTS: One nomenclatural correction is required in Justicia L. (Acanthaceae). CONCLUSION: The replacement name Justicia conferta J.C.Manning & Goldblatt is provided for the illegitimate homonym Justicia densiflora (Hochst.) J.C.Manning & Goldblatt, and the validity of the combination Justicia andromeda (Lindau) J.C.Manning & Goldblatt is clarified. <![CDATA[<b>First record of <i>Botryococcus braunii</i> K├╝tzing from Namibia</b>]]> BACKGROUND: Botryococcus braunii is well known from all continents, but it has been sparsely recorded from Africa compared to other continents. The alga recently formed a rusty orange-red bloom in the Tilda Viljoen Dam, situated near Gobabis in Namibia. Blooms of this species are known to produce allelopathic substances that inhibit the growth and diversity of other phytoplankton, zooplankton and fish. OBJECTIVES: The objective of this study was to record the presence of B. braunii in Namibia. METHOD: Morphological features of the species were compared with illustrations and literature on B. braunii found in other continents of the world, particularly North America and Europe. Extensive literature surveys revealed its currently known geographical distribution. RESULTS: The organism responsible for the discolouration of the water was identified as B. braunii. Microscopic examination revealed large colonies that floated in a thick layer on the surface of the water. Literature searches on the geographical distribution of B. braunii revealed that this was the first record of this species' presence in Namibia. CONCLUSION: The known geographical distribution of B. braunii was expanded to include Namibia. <![CDATA[<i><b>Borassus aethiopum</b></i><b> Mart. (Arecaceae) in Limpopo province with a key to South African palms</b>]]> BACKGROUND: Borassus aethiopum Mart. commonly occurs in many parts of tropical Africa, and in South Africa it is restricted to the Leydsdorp region where it is conspicuous along the Selati River. The species is sometimes considered to have been introduced to South Africa because of its disjunct distribution. It has remained poorly studied and little is known about the local populations of this palm. OBJECTIVES: This study provides a descriptive treatment and documents the population structure of B. aethiopum in this area, and presents a key to the six indigenous palm species of South Africa. METHOD: All accessible populations were surveyed and documented, and eight transects were randomly placed to gather data on size-class distributions. Borassus aethiopum and other indigenous palm species were compared morphologically. RESULTS: The population structure analyses of B. aethiopum revealed a monotonic decline, but the permutation index suggested that the species is prone to recruitment events. This is supported by patches that are dominated by specific height classes. Leaf shape and size, fruit size and geographical distribution were the diagnostic characters most useful to recognise the species of South African indigenous palms. CONCLUSION: Borassus aethiopum is distinguishable from other South African palms based on stem, leaf and fruit characters. It is considered as indigenous to Granite Lowveld as the palm is part of the natural vegetation and is characterised by a size-class distribution reflecting a stable population. <![CDATA[<b>Aspects of the population biology, life history and threats to <i>Aloe ortholopha</i> Christian and Milne-Redh.: A serpentine endemic from the northern Great Dyke of Zimbabwe</b>]]> BACKGROUND: Aloe ortholopha is a rare endemic confined to serpentine soils of the Great Dyke of Zimbabwe. Its International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) status is listed as Vulnerable; however, its population biology and life history are poorly documented. OBJECTIVES: The aim of this article is to provide information on the population biology and life history of A. ortholopha through assessment of its size-class distribution, population size and density, reproductive output and fitness, and threats related to fire and mining. METHOD: Circumference of A. ortholopha leaf rosette was used to ascertain size-class distribution. Population size and density were determined by enumerating flowering individuals. Per-capita reproductive output was determined as mean number of flowers per plant, fruit set and mean number of seeds per fruit. Fitness was determined from seed germination capacity. Impact of fire and mining were recorded photographically RESULTS: Determination of size-class distribution of A. ortholopha from three study sites (southern region [SR], central region [CR] and northern region [NR]) revealed a bell-shaped curve dominated by intermediate size classes. Population size (number of flowering individuals) ranged from 36 to 66 per site. This translated to a density of 4.0-7.3 flowering plants per hectare. Per-capita reproductive output, measured as mean number of flowers per plant, was significantly different in SR and CR compared to that in the NR region. Mean number of fruits per plant did not .significantly differ across the three regions. Mean seed set per plant in CR and NR was significantly different to that in the SR region. Species fitness, as determined from in vitro germination assays, showed that seeds harvested from fire-damaged capsules have the lowest cumulative germination percentage. It was also observed that leaf rosettes curled up to form a ball that protects the apical centre of plants from fire damage. CONCLUSION: A. ortholopha occurs in small population clusters of low density. The species has a low per-capita reproductive output characterised by production of many flowers, but with very low percentage fruit and seed set. The species has low fitness as evidenced by nominal recruitment of saplings and juveniles. Conspecific mates are frequently lost owing to fire and mining activities. <![CDATA[<b>Double trouble: Description of an attack on a nesting <i>Delta</i> sp. (Vespidae) by two <i>Stilbum cyanurum</i> (Chrysididae) cuckoo wasps</b>]]> Cuckoo wasps (Chrysididae) are well known for their habit of laying eggs in other insects' nests, but the strategies by which they sneak their eggs into hosts' nests have seldom been described. I report observations of an attack by two Stilbum cyanurum (Chrysididae) individuals on a nesting Delta sp. (Vespidae: Eumeninae). The attack lasted over 1h 30 min and involved both S. cyanurum wasps simultaneously mobbing the Delta sp. in attempts to gain access to her nest. The mode of attack and oviposition are described, and details are compared with observations of attacks by S. cyanurum in other parts of its range. <![CDATA[<b>Determining the type locality and collector of Nylander's South African lichens</b>]]> BACKGROUND: In 1868, Nylander described 15 new lichen taxa from collections made near Durban, South Africa. The locality was not specified and the collector was identified only as 'Miss Armstrong'. OBJECTIVES: To identify the collector and type locality of Nylander's species. METHOD: Scientific literature, maps, letters, notebooks and genealogical sources were consulted to reconstruct the provenance of the specimens. RESULTS: 'Miss Armstrong' was likely Olivia Armstrong; she collected in the Karkloof area of the KwaZulu-Natal Midlands. CONCLUSION: This investigation facilitates future work to determine whether the species described and reported by Nylander are still extant in the same locality.