Scielo RSS <![CDATA[Bothalia - African Biodiversity & Conservation ]]> vol. 49 num. 1 lang. en <![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> Kützing 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. <![CDATA[<b>Vegetation of Akkerendam Nature Reserve, Northern Cape: Delineation and dynamics over 100 years</b>]]> BACKGROUND: Akkerendam Nature Reserve is the second oldest proclaimed municipal nature reserve in the Northern Cape, yet to date no vegetation map has been produced. The possible expansion of the reserve is under consideration. OBJECTIVES: To produce a vegetation map, classification and description of the vegetation of the reserve and proposed expansion area, and assess how the vegetation has changed over the past century METHOD: Braun Blanquet methodology was used to produce a vegetation map. To quantify vegetation change, (1) relevés (a plot of phytosociological data) composed from Acocks' species lists, recorded in 1954 and 1956, were compared with the phytosociological table, and (2) recent repeat photographs (2016) were compared to four images taken by Pole Evans (ca. 1920). RESULTS: Three plant communities were identified within the reserve and expansion area; however, four subcommunities are only found in the proposed expansion area. Relevés compiled from Acocks' species lists were absorbed into the phytosociological table indicating that no significant vegetation change has taken place in the last approximately 60 years. This study found 222 species in common with Acocks' species lists; however, he did not list the alien invasive species Prosopis glandulosa. Comparison of repeat photographs with images taken nearly a century earlier suggests that, except for the impact of recent fires, the composition remained relatively similar. CONCLUSION: The phytosociological approach adopted has provided a map of the vegetation units of the study area, while the historical comparisons indicate that the vegetation of Akkerendam Nature Reserve has not undergone significant change over the last 100 years. <![CDATA[<b>The alpine flora on inselberg summits in the Maloti—Drakensberg Park, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa</b>]]> BACKGROUND: Inselberg summits adjacent to the Maloti-Drakensberg escarpment occupy an alpine zone within the Drakensberg Alpine Centre (DAC). Inselbergs, the escarpment and surrounding mountains such as Platberg experience a severe climate; inselberg summits are distinct by being protected from human disturbance. OBJECTIVES: The aim of this article was to describe for the first time the flora of inselberg summits and to assess their potential contribution to conservation of DAC plant diversity. METHOD: We investigated whether the flora of inselberg summits formed a representative subset of the DAC flora in terms of shared, especially endemic or near endemic, species and representation of families. All species were listed for six inselbergs between Giant's Castle and Sentinel, located in the Royal Natal National Park (RNNP) during November 2005. Comparisons, using literature, were made with floras of the DAC, as well as Platberg, an inselberg approximately 60 km north from Sentinel in the RNNP. RESULTS: We recorded 200 species of pteridophytes and angiosperms on inselbergs, 114 DAC endemics or near endemics, one possible new species, and several range and altitudinal extensions. Asteraceae, Poaceae and Ericaceae comprised 42.1% of endemic and near endemic species, with Scrophulariaceae and Hyacinthaceae contributing 8.8%. Inselberg and DAC floras differed in respective rankings of Crassulaceae (8th vs. > 15th), Polygalaceae, Apiaceae and Rosaceae (10th, 11th, 12th vs. > 15th), Poaceae (2nd vs. 5th), Cyperaceae (3rd vs. 4th) and Scrophulariaceae (6th vs. 2nd). Growth forms on inselbergs were consistent with DAC flora. Inselbergs shared 40% of species with Platberg. CONCLUSION: Inselbergs, which supported 7.9% of species occurring in the DAC flora, are well protected from human impact, lack alien plants, but, despite this, are highly vulnerable to climate change. Conservation importance of inselbergs will increase as escarpment vegetation becomes increasingly degraded as a consequence of intensifying land use. <![CDATA[<b>Typification and application of the name <i>Arctotis grandiflora</i> Aiton (Asteraceae: Arctotideae)</b>]]> BACKGROUND: Ongoing taxonomic studies in the African genus Arctotis (Asteraceae) necessitate periodic nomenclatural adjustments and corrections. OBJECTIVES: To evaluate the taxonomic status and application of the name Arctotis grandiflora Aiton. METHODS: Type material and herbarium specimens were located and examined, relevant literature was consulted and wild populations were observed. RESULTS: The type material of A. grandiflora Aiton comprises specimens of two taxa from independent gatherings. A lectotype is designated for A. grandiflora. CONCLUSION: The name A. grandiflora Aiton is a heterotypic synonym of Arctotis stoechadifolia P.J.Bergius. A revised synonymy for A. stoechadifolia is presented. <![CDATA[<b>Threatened medicinal and economic plants of the Sudan Savanna in Katsina State, northwestern Nigeria</b>]]> BACKGROUND: The loss of biodiversity in Nigeria is escalating alarmingly. However, there is generally a paucity of information as to what taxa are endangered because of a dearth of functioning conservation agencies in Nigeria OBJECTIVES: The aim of this research is to record the endangered medicinal and other economic plant species in the Sudan Savanna vegetation in Katsina and to provide an assessment of the various threats faced by these plants METHOD: Medicinal plants were identified through oral interviews with traditional medical practitioners within the study area. Conservation statuses were assessed using a bespoke data collection and assessment form; the data were then evaluated using the International Union for the Conservation of Nature Red List categories and criteria RESULTS: A total of 169 species belonging to 62 families were recorded. Of these, 43 taxa were reported to be used for ethnomedicinal practices. It was found that more than half (108) of the 169 species were threatened with extinction and one taxon (Xeroderris stuhlmannii [Taub.] Mendonca & Sousa) qualifies as being Extinct locally. Threats recorded include overexploitation (24%), agriculture (15%), deforestation and desertification (12% each), invasive plants (11%), urban residential development (7%) and erosion (6% CONCLUSION: Most of the plants are already under threat and require urgent conservation measures. The data point to the critical need for further research into conservation strategies and a more sustainable use of threatened plants. We recommend that the Nigerian government should establish a national Red List agency and ensure effective protected area management and community-based natural resources management <![CDATA[<b>The importance of museum collections in determining biodiversity patterns, using a freshwater mussel <i>Unio caffer</i> (Krauss 1848) as an example</b>]]> BACKGROUND: Two recent distributional maps of the African freshwater mussel Unio caffer (Krauss 1848) in South Africa represented an incomplete picture compared to the records held by the national museums OBJECTIVES: This study is partly in response to them, with the aim to compare and contrast the distribution maps of the published papers with the distribution records held by the national museums METHOD: We requested the distribution records of U. caffer from four South African museums. We visited and worked on the U. caffer collections of three of these museums to confirm the taxonomic identity of their specimens and gather occurrence records. We also extracted the distributional records from the two published maps, and plotted all these records using the geographic information system, ESRI ArcGIS RESULTS: The distribution map based on the museum records showed that this species occurred in all nine provinces of the country, thus revealing a much broader historical occurrence than previous known CONCLUSION: This study demonstrates the crucial function of museums, natural history collections in facilitating understanding about biodiversity patterns using U. caffer distribution as an example. However, as museum records mainly show historical occurrence, there is a need to conduct further studies to assess the current population trends of this species. Although the current International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) conservation assessment of this species is Least Concern, pressures on native fish, which host the larval stages of this mussel, and the declining environmental conditions of rivers in the country may affect the conservation status in the near future <![CDATA[<b><i>Lithospermum sylvestre</i> (Boraginaceae)</b><b>: </b><b>A new species from the Baviaanskloof, Eastern Cape, South Afric</b>]]> BACKGROUND: Recent field work in the Baviaanskloof, Eastern Cape, resulted in several collections of an unknown species of Lithospermum (Boraginaceae), a genus that is taxonomically relatively poorly understood in southern Africa OBJECTIVES: To describe the Baviaanskloof collections and characterise them against currently known species of Lithospermum METHOD: Relevant literature was surveyed and herbarium and fresh material was examined RESULTS: Recent collections of Lithospermum from the Baviaanskloof Mountains in Eastern Cape represent an undescribed species CONCLUSION: Lithospermum sylvestre J.Cohen & J.C.Manning is a new species recognised by its well-branched stems with adpressed-scabrid pubescence, and relatively long-tubed flowers with long styles that are ± as long as the corolla tube and only shortly included within it <![CDATA[<b><i>Massonia villosa</i> (Hyacinthaceae), a new species from the Roggeveld, Northern Cape, South Africa</b>]]> BACKGROUND: Ongoing systematic studies in the African flora periodically reveal the existence of undescribed species OBJECTIVES: To describe the new species METHOD: Relevant literature was surveyed, and herbarium and fresh material were examined RESULTS: Collections of a Massonia (Hyacinthaceae) from the escarpment near Sutherland in Northern Cape with unique, softly hairy foliage represent an undescribed species CONCLUSIONS: Massonia villosa J.C.Manning is a new species distinguished by the small, markedly convex leaves with recurved apex and pilose adaxial surface covered with soft, shaggy hairs up to 7 mm long and slender flowers without marked sigmoid coiling of the tepals <![CDATA[<b>Indigenous vascular plants of the Soutpansberg, South Africa</b>]]> BACKGROUND: The first checklist for the Soutpansberg was published in 1946, and the second list was compiled by the author in 2006 as part of his doctoral thesis. Currently, there is a need for an updated account of the biodiversity of the Soutpansberg Centre of Endemism and Diversity for conservation planning in the Vhembe Biosphere Reserve, within which the Soutpansberg is the principle geomorphological feature OBJECTIVES: To present an updated list of vascular plants recorded for the Soutpansberg METHOD: The list was compiled from various sources including literature reviews, herbarium specimens, herbarium databases and personal observations RESULTS: This article presents the most geographically accurate and taxonomically updated list of the indigenous vascular flora of the Soutpansberg, the northernmost mountain range of South Africa. Altogether 2443 taxa are recorded belonging to 922 genera in 187 families and 64 orders CONCLUSION: The list presented in this article confirms the status of the Soutpansberg as a centre of floristic diversity in southern Africa. Notable is the higher-order diversity of the flora. It is likely that both future surveys and reviews of herbarium collections will add new taxa to the current total <![CDATA[<b><i>Asphodelus fistulous</i> L</b><b>.</b><b>, a newly discovered plant invader in South Africa: Assessing the risk of invasion and potential for eradication</b>]]> BACKGROUND: Naturalised populations of Asphodelus fistulosus (onion weed) were recorded in South Africa for the first time during the early 1990s. Initial records lodged in 2012 indicated the presence of two populations. Five additional populations were found between 2012 and 2016, as a result of surveys and the distribution of awareness materials. All populations in South Africa occurred along roadsides, but in other parts of the world the species has demonstrated the ability to spread into adjacent native vegetation and crop fields OBJECTIVES: The aim of this study was to assess the risk of invasion and potential for eradication METHOD: A risk assessment tool was used to establish invasion risk. Of the seven known populations, five test populations were selected to gather data on the feasibility for eradication. Randomised fixed plots were used to monitor the response of A. fistulosus populations to mechanical and chemical plant control methods and to track spread over time. The germinability of seeds was also tested RESULTS: The Standard Australian Risk Assessment method for invasive alien plants gave a relatively high score for the threat posed by this species. In this assessment, a threshold score is used to indicate sufficient invasive risk to fail a species as part of a preborder risk assessment. Invasiveness elsewhere (Australia and USA) contributed to the relatively high score. The bioclimatic modelling map highlighted the south-western region of South Africa as most suitable climatically for A. fistulosus. Both mechanical and chemical control methods were shown to be effective in killing live plants. Results, based on plant removal and monitoring, over a four-year research period suggest that suppression of reproduction is possible, partly as a result of high detectability and ease of control CONCLUSION: It is recommended that A. fistulosus be listed as a National Environmental Management: Biodiversity Act 10 of 2004 1a invasive species (eradication target) under national legislation, thus requiring compulsory management. We estimate that extirpation of all known populations of A. fistulosus may be possible with continual effort at an annual investment of approximately ZAR 50 000 per year. Further surveillance for undiscovered populations and monitoring of known populations must be conducted to produce a definitive comment about the feasibility of countrywide eradication <![CDATA[<b>Taxonomic notes on the genus <i>Neorautanenia</i> (Fabaceae-Phaseoleae)</b>]]> BACKGROUND: Neorautanenia is a small genus in the subtribe Glycininae within the tribe Phaseoleae in the family Fabaceae. It is distributed in southern and Tropical Africa. Historically, the genus is known to consist of three species, namely, N. brachypus, N. ficifolia and N. mitis; morphological data suggest that these should be reduced to two OBJECTIVES: The aim of this article is to formally sink N. brachypus into the synonymy of N. mitis and to provide the correct typification, diagnostic features, diagnostic key, distribution maps, as well as illustrations of the morphological features of the two species METHODS: Observations were made on herbarium specimens housed at PRE. Morphological features were studied and measurements of characters recorded RESULTS: Neorautanenia mitis is extremely variable morphologically, so that several authors recognised many different variants, some of these as distinct species, including N. brachypus. Examination of numerous specimens, however, indicates that these are merely morphological and/or geographical variants of N. mitis. This observation prompted Verdcourt to place this taxon as a synonym of N. mitis; however, he reversed that decision 30 years later. It has become necessary to revert to the original decision CONCLUSIONS: Neorautanenia brachypus is formally reduced to a synonymy of N. mitis and as a result the genus comprises only two species <![CDATA[<b>Distribution, habitat profile and genetic variability of Namibian succulent <i>Lithops ruschiorum</i></b>]]> BACKGROUND: The species-rich flora of southern Africa comprises a high number of endemics, including succulents such as the flowering stones in the genus Lithops, but conservation status for these species is not well underpinned because detailed field data and assessments of genetic diversity are lacking OBJECTIVES: We wanted to assess plant abundance and identify factors that may affect survival in Lithops ruschiorum through carefully conducted field surveys, and to determine amount and partitioning of genetic variation by amplified fragment length polymorphism (AFLP) analysis METHOD: Field surveys were carried out in nine populations in Namibia. The most meticulously studied population was divided into 51 sites, while another 43 sites were recognised in the remaining eight populations. At each site, occupied area and number of plants were recorded as well as altitude, aspect, slope, soil texture and substrate. Amplified fragment length polymorphism markers were employed to study 52 individuals from seven populations RESULTS: In total, 8465 individuals were recorded. Plant density and/or plant number was associated with aspect, slope, soil texture, substrate and geographic distance from the coast. Analysis of molecular variation showed that 95% of the variability occurs within populations. Genetic and geographic distances among populations were correlated suggesting an isolation-by-distance pattern CONCLUSION: Results are concordant with a strong impact of fog-based precipitation on plant density in the coastal populations, whereas rain probably is more important at one population which is situated further inland. Within-population genetic variation was medium high as usually reported for perennial, outcrossing species, but the low population differentiation implies considerable gene flow and/or population fragmentation <![CDATA[<b>New synonyms and combinations in <i>Drimia</i> Jacq. (Hyacinthaceae) in southern Africa</b>]]> BACKGROUND: Ongoing systematic studies in the African flora necessitate periodic nomenclatural adjustments and corrections OBJECTIVES: To effect requisite nomenclatural changes METHOD: Relevant literature was surveyed and relevant material was examined RESULTS: Nomenclatural adjustments are provided for recently described taxa of Hyacinthaceae subfamily Urgineoideae in order to accommodate them in the alternative classification system in use in South African herbaria CONCLUSION: A broadly circumscribed Drimia Jacq. has the advantages of nomenclatural stability and utility. The newly described segregate genera Austronea Mart.-Azorín et al. and Zingela N.R.Crouch et al. are formally included in Drimia, and A. densiflora Mart.-Azorín et al., A. hispidoplicata Mart.-Azorín et al. and A. pinguis Mart.-Azorín et al. are transferred to that genus as D. densiflora (Mart.-Azorín et al.) J.C.Manning & Goldblatt, D. hispidoplicata (Mart.-Azorín et al.) J.C.Manning & Goldblatt and D. pinguis (Mart.-Azorín et al.) J.C.Manning & Goldblatt, respectively, whereas A. grandiflora Mart.-Azorín et al. and A. linearis Mart.-Azorín et al. are treated as synonyms of D. vermiformis J.C.Manning & Goldblatt; A. olifanta Mart.-Azorín et al. is treated as a synonym of D. barkerae Oberm. ex J.C.Manning & Goldblatt; and A. papillosa Mart.-Azorín et al. and A. pygmaea (A.V. Duthie) Mart.-Azorín et al. are treated a synonyms of D. virens (Schltr.) J.C.Manning & Goldblatt. Zingela pooleyorum N.R.Crouch is considered to be conspecific with Urginea zambesiaca Baker, for which the new combination D. zambesiaca (Baker) J.C.Manning & Goldblatt is provided. The combination D. zebrina (Mart.-Azorín et al.) J.C.Manning & Goldblatt is provided for an allied species. Examination of recent collections of Ornithogalum toxicarium C.Archer & R.H.Archer confirms that it is actually a species of Drimia and it is accordingly transferred to that genus as D. toxicaria (C.Archer & R.H.Archer) J.C.Manning & Goldblatt <![CDATA[<b>The correct identity of <i>Lasiosiphon microphyllus</i> (Meisn.) Meisn. (Thymelaeaceae) and the new combination <i>Lasiosiphon kuntzei</i> (Gilg.) R.Kolokoto & Magee</b>]]> BACKGROUND: While working towards a taxonomic revision of the genus Lasiosiphon (Thymelaeaceae), it became clear that the current application of the name Lasiosiphon microphyllus did not correspond to the identity of the type material OBJECTIVES: To effect the requisite nomenclatural changes METHOD: Herbarium specimens from NBG and PRE as well as the type collections of L. microphyllus and Lasiosiphon suavissimus were studied RESULTS: Nomenclatural corrections are required for the taxa currently treated as L. microphyllus and L. suavissimus CONCLUSIONS: Lasiosiphon microphyllus is recognised as the earliest name for the tetramerous species currently known as L. suavissimus. Gnidia kuntzei is the earliest available name for the pentamerous taxon currently treated as L. microphyllus and the new combination Lasiosiphon kuntzei (Gilg.) R.Kolokoto & Magee is provided <![CDATA[<b>Three new Drosophilidae species records for South Africa</b>]]> BACKGROUND: Data on the current species diversity from the Drosophilidae family in South Africa is limited or outdated OBJECTIVES: Using haphazard, limited trapping for a different study, we serendipitously report on and document Drosophilidae species in two distinct regions (representing a sub-tropical and a Mediterranean climate region) of South Africa METHOD: Drosophilidae were trapped using mixed fruit and mushroom traps around urban areas in two climatically distinct regions of South Africa. The flies were identified using standard barcoding (Cytochrome c Oxidase Subunit I [COI] gene sequence) and, in some cases, additional identification from a taxonomical expert using morphological traits. Species were checked against literature, online resources and a previously compiled library of South African Drosophilidae to determine whether they were new records RESULTS: Thirteen species were readily collected and identified. Of these, three species (Drosophila ananassae, Drosophila nasuta and Zaprionus taronus) have not been reported previously in South Africa. One of the species (Z. taronus) was captured in a home garden, while the other two species were captured in an urban-agricultural region with a sub-tropical climate CONCLUSIONS: From our limited serendipitous sampling, three new species records have been found in sub-tropical climates in South Africa. With more comprehensive, systematic sampling, a better understanding of the South African Drosophilidae composition, and thus the detection of alien or invasive species, can be pursued. Baseline data for understanding spatio-temporal patterns of native biodiversity, or for informing management actions in the case of alien or invasive species, are currently inadequate for this group in the region <![CDATA[<b>Development of alien and invasive taxa lists for regulation of biological invasions in South Africa</b>]]> BACKGROUND: Lists are fundamental for guiding policy and management of biological invasions. The process of developing regulatory lists of alien and invasive taxa should be based on scientific evidence through an objective, transparent and consistent process OBJECTIVES: In this study, we review the development of the lists for the alien and invasive species regulations in terms of section 97(1) of the National Environmental Management: Biodiversity Act, 2004 (NEM:BA) (Act No. 10 of 2004 METHOD: Lists published in the National Government Gazette were compared and assessed for changes in the taxa listed and their status between 2009 and 2016. Minutes from expert workshops convened to inform the listing were reviewed. Relevant information such as the criteria for listing taxa was extracted from minutes of the workshops RESULTS: Three draft versions were produced and published in the Government Gazette for public comment before the final list was published in August 2014 and promulgated in October 2014. The list is to be reviewed regularly and additional species can be added, and the status of species can be changed as additional evidence of threat levels is available - and was even amended in May 2015. The various stakeholders involved in the listing process were academics, conservation experts, managers and the general public through an inclusive process which included participation workshops or through public comment. A scoring tool based on the likelihood of invasion versus the impact of invasion was recommended for evaluating the risk of a species, but was rarely used. A number of issues relating to conflicts and approaches for listing were faced during development of lists CONCLUSION: We conclude with some recommendations for future refinements in the listing process, including improving transparency and participation as well as developing standardised approaches for listing <![CDATA[<b>Has strategic planning made a difference to amphibian conservation research in South Africa?</b>]]> BACKGROUND: Conservation relies on the strategic use of resources because monies for conservation action are limited, especially in developing countries. South Africa's Frog Atlas project established a baseline for the country's amphibian data and threat levels in 2004, and in 2009 a prioritisation exercise developed a strategy for conservation research OBJECTIVES: In this article, we assess this strategy for conservation research METHOD: We conducted a quantitative and qualitative assessment of research undertaken since the strategy was developed RESULTS: The strategy has produced a lasting impact on taxonomy, ecological studies, monitoring and capacity building. Publications in all areas have increased, but particularly in conservation ecology. Other indicators are increases in the numbers of locality records for target taxa, species descriptions and postgraduate degrees with amphibians as the principal topic. We document important milestones for South African amphibian conservation, including the first Biodiversity Management Plan for Species (BMP-S) for Hyperolius pickersgilli, a smart device app that uploads locality data to an open access database, 15 years of monitoring data and new amphibian identification books for adults and children. The Red List Index calculated for South African amphibians shows that the country's species are becoming more threatened (a 1% reduction in 10 years), but a hindcasting exercise suggests that most of the damage was already done by 1990. We provide a checklist for 131 amphibian species in South Africa, of which 82 species are endemic CONCLUSION: A strategy for conservation research was found to greatly augment the focus of research on South African frogs. A new strategy should focus on fewer taxa over meaningful time spans <![CDATA[<b>Spider checklist for the Blouberg, in the Vhembe Biosphere Reserve, South Africa</b>]]> BACKGROUND: The north-eastern mountainous region of South Africa has been identified as a spider diversity hotspot and centre of endemisim. The Blouberg is an isolated inselberg that forms part of the Soutpansberg geological complex, the northernmost mountain in South Africa OBJECTIVES: This article provides an updated species list of the Blouberg spiders, which includes details of the distribution patterns and conservation statuses of all taxa. Exotic species and species of special conservation concern are identified METHOD: Surveys were conducted between 2005 and 2012, and a range of collecting methods were used to sample both the ground and field layers RESULTS: A total of 47 families were sampled in 210 genera and 346 species. The families of Salticidae (45 spp.), Gnaphosidae (32 spp.), Thomisidae (31 spp.), Araneidae (26 spp.) and Lycosidae (24 spp.) were the most diverse. Five species are of conservation concern, one species is Vulnerable, one is possibly exotic and 62 species are South African endemics CONCLUSION: Presently, 17% of South African species are protected on the mountain and its surrounding foothills. The latter are of particular conservation concern, while the mountaintop and its associated habitats are under-sampled <![CDATA[<b>Notes on the morphology, ecology and distribution of <i>Quisqualis parviflora</i> (Combretaceae)</b>]]> BACKGROUND: Quisqualis parviflora Gerrard ex. Sond. is endemic to the KwaZulu-Natal and Eastern Cape provinces, South Africa. The species' distribution has previously been thought to extend to Mpumalanga and the KwaZulu-Natal midlands. Most published distributions include Maputaland in north-eastern KwaZulu-Natal, and it has been suggested that the species may occur in Mozambique. Sterile material of several Combretum Loefl. lianas may be confused with Q. parviflora Although the species may be locally common, it has never been collected in fruit. Published fruit descriptions are based on erroneously identified material. OBJECTIVES: The aim of this study was to supply a revised distribution range, to describe the fruit of Q. parviflora and to present notes on the phenology and ecology of the species METHOD: Herbarium specimens of Q. parviflora, and similar taxa, were examined in various herbaria. Fieldwork was undertaken, and other active field botanists were consulted RESULTS: Quisqualis parviflora is almost entirely restricted to scarp forest between Port St. Johns in the Eastern Cape and Eshowe in KwaZulu-Natal. Although the species may be locally common, it has only been collected from a few localities. The current dispersal ability of the species may be extremely limited, which could have long-term conservation implications Samaras are described, and notes are provided on the phenology and ecology of the species. CONCLUSION: Although not currently threatened, the long-term prospects of Q. parviflora may be less secure. Proposed forest management interventions like liana thinning should not be undertaken without more information <![CDATA[<b>Vegetation Map of South Africa, Lesotho and Swaziland 2018: A description of changes since 2006</b>]]> BACKGROUND: The Vegetation Map of South Africa, Lesotho and Swaziland (National Vegetation Map [NVM]) is a fundamental data set that is updated periodically. The National Biodiversity Assessment (NBA) 2018 process provided an opportunity for a more comprehensive revision of the NVM and better alignment between the terrestrial, marine and estuarine ecosystem maps OBJECTIVES: The aim of this study was to update the NVM 2018 and quantify spatial and classification changes since NVM 2012, and describe the rationale and data sources utilised. We also quantified spatial errors corrected in this version, highlighted progress since NVM 2006, and identified errors and gaps to make recommendations for future revisions METHOD: Edits made to the NVM in ArcMap 10.4 were categorised into the following five groups for analysis: (1) New types, (2) Boundary edits, (3) Realm re-assignment, (4) Removed and replaced vegetation types and (5) Deleted map area. Changes were quantified by category and biome. We used various software platforms to correct and quantify spatial errors since 2006 RESULTS: Vegetation types were added (n = 47), removed (n = 35) and had boundary edits (n = 107) in NVM 2018, which affected over 5% of the total map area, compared to 2.6% (2012) and 0.5% (2009) for previous versions. Several sources of error were identified and fixed, and prompted the development of standard mapping protocols CONCLUSION: National Vegetation Map 2018 is the most substantial revision of this data set that now fully aligns with maps of all other realms that form part of the NBA. However, parts of the map remain unrefined and provide opportunities for future work <![CDATA[<b>The avifauna of the forest mosaic habitats of the Mariarano region, Mahajanga II district, north-west Madagascar</b>]]> BACKGROUND: The West Malagasy dry forests support numerous endemic species and experience heavy anthropogenic pressures, yet remain very poorly studied. Further research is required to understand species distributions and overall diversity in these threatened forest ecosystems. OBJECTIVES: We aimed to provide a description of the avifaunal community of a particular dry forest, Mariarano forest, north-western Madagascar, as well as other habitats that are heavily integrated with these Forests. The study site possesses a highly endemic bird community and is under severe environmental pressure, but remains poorly explored. METHOD: We compiled all records from a 9-year (2010-2018) bird survey data set (the most extensive compiled from a Madagascan dry forest to date), which yielded data from a combination of point count and mist-netting protocols. This was further supplemented by approximately 4384 h of opportunistic observation effort. RESULTS: In total, 95 species were detected, including 63 regional endemics (66.3% of all species), 2 local endemics and 7 Threatened or Near-Threatened species. CONCLUSION: We highlight the forest mosaic habitats of Mariarano as a potential new Important Bird Area, given the regional importance of its endemic avifauna. <![CDATA[<b>Honeybush (<i>Cyclopia</i> spp.) phenology and associated arthropod diversity in the Overberg region, South Africa</b>]]> BACKGROUND: Cyclopia is endemic to regions of the Cape Floristic Region across the Eastern and Western Cape provinces of South Africa and is commonly known as honeybush. Honeybush has historically been used as an herbal tea, and has proven medicinal properties. Honeybush biomass and extracts are used in the functional foods and cosmetics sectors, both locally and overseas. The growing demand for honeybush calls for increased agricultural production and a shift away from the predominantly wild harvested supply OBJECTIVES: The current study aimed to address the lack of baseline knowledge on honeybush phenology and its associated arthropod community to advance sustainable production of commercially valued plants in the genus METHOD: The study was conducted on wild and cultivated Cyclopia species (Cyclopia maculata and Cyclopia genistoides) at respective sites in the Overberg region. Sampling took place from April 2014 to April 2015 using qualitative methods for recording seasonal honeybush phenology and suction sampling for aboveground arthropods. Focal insect taxa (Coleoptera, Hemiptera, Thysanoptera, Lepidoptera and Hymenoptera) were sorted and identified to family level and classified into functional feeding guilds RESULTS: Qualitative phenology observations of wild C. maculata and cultivated C. genistoides indicated a high level of congruency in seasonality of phenophase stages. Associated arthropod assemblages contained a diversity of families per functional feeding group, namely phytophagous, zoophagous and omnivorous taxa, with high seasonal variability CONCLUSION: Findings highlight the complexity of ecological elements to be taken into consideration for ecologically sound honeybush cultivation. Outcomes can be applied to land management practices and governance policies promoting sustainable agroecosystems in honeybush production areas <![CDATA[<b>Using large-scale citizen science ringing data as a means of calculating maximum longevity in birds</b>]]> This article calculates estimates of avian longevity for southern African Passeriformes and demonstrates the impact citizen scientists have on data volumes curated by the South African Bird Ringing Unit (SAFRING). We calculated taxon-specific longevity records for 341 species from 33 families using ringing data collected between 1948 and 2017. An increase in active ringer participation over time correlated positively with an increase in retrap and recovery data, allowing for more reliable longevity calculations. These results highlight the significant contribution citizen scientists have made to bird ringing in southern Africa and identify data-deficient taxa to which future ringing activities should be targeted. <![CDATA[<b>Honeybush (<i>Cyclopia</i> spp.) phenology and associated arthropod diversity in the Overberg region, South Africa</b>]]> BACKGROUND: Cyclopia is endemic to regions of the Cape Floristic Region across the Eastern and Western Cape provinces of South Africa and is commonly known as honeybush. Honeybush has historically been used as an herbal tea, and has proven medicinal properties. Honeybush biomass and extracts are used in the functional foods and cosmetics sectors, both locally and overseas. The growing demand for honeybush calls for increased agricultural production and a shift away from the predominantly wild harvested supply. OBJECTIVES: The current study aimed to address the lack of baseline knowledge on honeybush phenology and its associated arthropod community to advance sustainable production of commercially valued plants in the genus. METHOD: The study was conducted on wild and cultivated Cyclopia species (Cyclopia maculata and Cyclopia genistoides) at respective sites in the Overberg region. Sampling took place from April 2014 to April 2015 using qualitative methods for recording seasonal honeybush phenology and suction sampling for aboveground arthropods. Focal insect taxa (Coleoptera, Hemiptera, Thysanoptera, Lepidoptera and Hymenoptera) were sorted and identified to family level and classified into functional feeding guilds. RESULTS: Qualitative phenology observations of wild C. maculata and cultivated C. genistoides indicated a high level of congruency in seasonality of phenophase stages. Associated arthropod assemblages contained a diversity of families per functional feeding group, namely phytophagous, zoophagous and omnivorous taxa, with high seasonal variability. CONCLUSION: Findings highlight the complexity of ecological elements to be taken into consideration for ecologically sound honeybush cultivation. Outcomes can be applied to land management practices and governance policies promoting sustainable agroecosystems in honeybush production areas. <![CDATA[<b>Invasive alien plants occurring in Lesotho: Their ethnobotany, potential risks, distribution and origin</b>]]> BACKGROUND: Several recent studies have documented the ethnobotanical uses of plants used in Lesotho, in particular those used for medicinal purposes. However, these reports did not make a distinction between indigenous, naturalised or invasive alien plants. Furthermore, the existing records on the status of the occurrence of these plants in the country are not up to date. OBJECTIVES: The aim of this article is to present information on the current knowledge regarding the status of invasive alien plant species in Lesotho and to discuss their ethnobotanical uses, distribution in the country, origin and safety. We further assess the existing legislation designed to regulate the spread of such plants and make a comparison with the invasiveness and regulation of such plants in the neighbouring South Africa. METHOD: This article is based mainly on a literature survey of published information obtained from various databases, such as Google Scholar, Science Direct and Scopus, as well as from unpublished data such as technical reports, dissertations and theses. RESULTS: A total of 57 species, comprising one pteridophyte, one gymnosperm and 56 flowering plants (52 dicotyledons and 4 monocotyledons) are documented. Although these plants are invasive in nature, they are utilised for a variety of purposes including food, treatment of various medical conditions, cosmetics and functional uses. However, some of the species are reported to be poisonous to both animals and humans, with a majority of the plants causing skin irritation. Most of these species are widely distributed throughout the country and most of them originated from America, Europe and Asia. Although a number of reports on the occurrence of invasive alien plants have been generated, the information therein has not yet been published. CONCLUSION: This study has identified knowledge gaps in terms of safety and distribution of the species, as well as shortfalls in the policies intended to regulate invasive alien species (IAS) in Lesotho. Further research in this regard is therefore recommended.