Scielo RSS <![CDATA[Bothalia - African Biodiversity & Conservation ]]> vol. 51 num. 2 lang. en <![CDATA[SciELO Logo]]> <![CDATA[<b>Habitat description of the rare orchid <i>Didymoplexis verrucosa </i>for more effective conservation</b>]]> BACKGROUND: Didymoplexis verrucosa is a cryptic, leafless, saprophytic ground orchid (~70 mm tall) growing on the coastal forest floors of southern Zululand and classified as Vulnerable (D2). As part of a population monitoring programme, 960 man-hours of species-specific searching over five consecutive flowering seasons were conducted, yielding only one individual plantOBJECTIVE: The aim of this study was to increase detection rate by developing a profile of environmental indicators for the accurate identification of suitable habitatMETHODS: A detailed description of suitable habitat was compiled based on the Braun-Blanquet approachRESULTS: The results showed that key attributes shared by localities include similar topographic position in the landscape, hydrology, soils, vegetation composition and structure, forest age, leaf-litter composition of the forest floor, the co-occurrence of Isoglossa woodii, and a similar degree of protection from sunlight, wind and desiccationCONCLUSION: This profile of essential habitat characteristics can be used as a surrogate in the absence of actual locality data when identifying target conservation areas and compiling management strategies for this very cryptic species. A by-product of this habitat analysis was the discovery of a long list of impacts on the long term survival of D. verrucosa. The combination of these stochastic and deterministic events will drive habitat change at rates beyond the species' ability to adapt. Managing these variables forms the crux of its successful conservation. A revision of the conservation status, based on the formal IUCN criteria, indicates that D. verrucosa should be reclassified as Critically Endangered Category B2a and D <![CDATA[<b>Motivations and contributions of volunteer groups in the management of invasive alien plants in South Africa's Western Cape province</b>]]> BACKGROUND: Research and management of biological invasions traditionally focuses on state-operated, large-scale control initiatives, with little emphasis on volunteers. Volunteering can, however, contribute to detection, extirpation and containment of invasive alien plant species (IAPS). Understanding the extent of involvement and motivations of volunteers in IAPS management is important to improve the success of invasive alien species controlOBJECTIVES: In this study we aimed to: 1) identify volunteer groups controlling IAPS in the Western Cape province of South Africa; 2) understand their practices and contributions towards detecting and controlling IAPS; 3) examine volunteer's motivations for controlling IAPS; and 4) identify the challenges individual volunteers and groups faceMETHODS: The data were collected using online questionnairesRESULTS: In total, we identified 52 volunteer groups. We broadly estimate that half of these groups that participated in the survey clear nearly 5 300 ha of land per year with estimated labour contributions of ZAR 5.1 million (equivalent to USD 0.32 million) when aligned with formal state management cost estimates. Most volunteer groups raise their own funds to facilitate their work, however, many suggest support from government entities, landowners and Non-Government Organisations would help. Most volunteers (82%) detect and report invasive species to their team leaders, citizen science platforms and relevant authorities. Volunteers themselves gain physical and psychological fulfilment and build their social capital by meeting new peopleCONCLUSION: Our findings point to the valuable contribution of these groups, but also the need for better co-ordination and engagement between volunteer groups and mandated authorities on science, policy and management <![CDATA[<b>The structure and composition of the woody plant communities of Majete Wildlife Reserve, Malawi</b>]]> BACKGROUND: The role of protected areas as sanctuaries for indigenous vegetation in Malawi, particularly miombo woodlands, will become increasingly important in the face of global change and rising human populations. Accurate knowledge of the extent and composition of woody components of plant communities will therefore play a vital part in informing conservation and management initiativesOBJECTIVES: The aims of this study were to (1) classify, describe and map the woody plant communities of the Majete Wildlife Reserve (MWR) using a combination of remote sensing and on-the-ground surveys, and (2) to compile an inventory of the tree and shrub species present in MWRMETHODS: A combination of remote sensing and on-the-ground surveys was used to classify, describe and map the woody plant communities of MWR. Additionally, an inventory of the tree and shrub species in each delineated woody plant community was madeRESULTS: Five distinct woody plant communities, two of which were subdivided into three sub-communities each, were recognised in MWR, and a total of 118 woody plant species within 31 families were identified. A description of the location, structure and species composition of each community is provided. Miombo was the most widespread community (covering 35.9% of the area), while the lower-altitude shrublands and woodlands were the richest floristicallyCONCLUSION: This information is intended to provide a basis for improved management planning and policy development, including fire management, the placement of infrastructure, and the re-introduction of extirpated mammal species, as well as providing a baseline against which to monitor change. Additionally, this study provided an example of how the combination of remote sensing and ground surveys can provide a rapid and relatively inexpensive method for classifying the woody components of communities at a relatively fine scale over large areas, which may become particularly relevant for developing countries and regions that undergo rapid and constant change <![CDATA[<b>Vegetation survey of the Khomas Hochland in central-western Namibia: syntaxonomical descriptions</b>]]> BACKGROUND: The Great Escarpment of southern Africa takes the form of an extended mountainous highland in central-western Namibia, commonly referred to as the 'Khomas Hochland'. It is regarded as an area of high botanical diversity. Yet only few localised studies on the vegetation composition are available. The Khomas Hochland is formed on the southern part of the Damara Orogen and dominated by metamorphosed sediments. Climatically it forms a transition between the hot desert of the Namib and the slightly cooler hot steppe in the inlandOBJECTIVES: To classify and provide syntaxonomical descriptions of the vegetation of the Khomas HochlandMETHODS: A dataset comprising 1151 releves and 914 species was compiled from various surveys, mostly collected under, and to the standards of, the umbrella project 'Vegetation Survey of Namibia'. For first classifications, the data set was reduced to a synusial set consisting of trees, shrubs, dwarf shrubs and grasses onlyRESULTS: The classification resulted in four major landscape units, being the Pre-Namib and Escarpment zone, the Khomas Hochland proper, riverine habitats as well as surrounding lowlands. The classification was further refined using Cocktail procedures to produce 30 associations, one with four sub-associations. These are described in this paperCONCLUSION: A classification of synoptic data grouped the associations into five orders and one undefined cluster of associations on specialised desert habitats. Four of these orders correspond to the habitat types identified in the first classification. The fifth order, the Senegalio hereroensis-Tarchonanthoetalia camphorathi, represents high mountains of the central Khomas Hochland, which link bio-geographically to the grassland biome in South Africa <![CDATA[<b>A rapid biodiversity assessment of Lesotho's first proposed Biosphere Reserve: a case study of Bokong Nature Reserve and Tsehlanyane National Park</b>]]> BACKGROUND: Two of Lesotho's protected areas, namely Bokong Nature Reserve and Tsehlanyane National Park, form the core area of the country's first proposed Biosphere Reserve. Biodiversity is a key aspect needed to justify nomination of a Biosphere Reserve under UNESCO's Man and the Biosphere Programme. Previously documented biodiversity of the two protected areas is limited in terms of coverage and scope as well as being outdated. The aim of the current study was to conduct a rapid assessment of the biodiversity, including endemism, of the proposed Biosphere Reserve to inform the formal nomination processMETHODS: A field survey was undertaken over 112 033 ha in the core, buffer and transition zones of the proposed Biosphere Reserve during which species of both flora and fauna were documented. Purposeful recordings were made during different seasons to incorporate various flowering seasons of the plants, as well as faunal species that may hibernate or migrate seasonallyRESULTS: A total of 380 plant species was recorded, 30 of which are legally protected in the country, 60 endemic to the Drakensberg Mountain Centre, and two species (Aloe polyphylla and Glumicalyx lesuticus) are endemic to Lesotho. The former is the national flower of Lesotho and is under threat due to illegal trade. Sixteen mammal species were recorded, seven of which are legally protected in the country, as well as 53 bird species (including the IUCN Red Listed vulture species, Gyps coprotheres and Gypaetus barbatus). Two fish species were also recorded including Pseudobarbus quathlambae, which is Lesotho's only known endemic vertebrate species, as well as seven reptile and three amphibian species (two of which are near endemic namely Amietia delalandii and A. vertebralisCONCLUSION: This survey has provided valuable baseline information on the biodiversity (particularly regarding the flora and avifauna) of the proposed Biosphere Reserve, which includes two protected areas namely Bokong Nature Reserve and Tsehlanyane National Park. The findings reflect the biodiversity value of the area and will contribute towards its nomination as Lesotho's first Biosphere Reserve <![CDATA[<b><i>Otholobium outrampsii </i>(Psoraleeae, Fabaceae) - a new species from the Western Cape, South Africa</b>]]> Otholobium outrampsii (Psoraleeae, Fabaceae) - a new species from the Western Cape Province, South Africa, is described and illustrated. This species is closely related to O. curtisiae but can be morphologically distinguished by it having semi-conduplicate, minutely glandular, softly pilose leaflets (versus flat, prominently glandular, glabrous leaflets); leaflet apex attenuate (versus leaflet apex shortly apiculate); calyx accrescent (versus calyx non-accrescent). The description of this new species further highlights the value of citizen science and by giving it the specific epithet 'outrampsii', we honour an incredible group of citizen scientists, namely the Outramps CREW group. <![CDATA[<b>New records of alien and potentially invasive grass (Poaceae) species for southern Africa</b>]]> BACKGROUND: The grasses (Poaceae) of the Flora of Southern Africa (FSA) region (i.e. Botswana, Eswatini, Lesotho, Namibia and South Africa) are relatively well documented, for both native and non-native species. Visiting taxonomic expertise nevertheless reveals new FSA and in-country records, particularly of non-native species. Such records provide an opportunity for improving biosecurity relating to potentially invasive but hitherto undetected non-native Poaceae in the FSA regionOBJECTIVES: To improve floristic data for non-native Poaceae occurring in the FSA regionMETHOD: Field collections were made, herbarium collections, databases and relevant literature were studiedRESULTS: New records are presented for non-native grasses that were encountered as locally common populations in the Drakensberg Mountain Centre of Floristic Endemism (DMC, Lesotho and South Africa). Festuca rubra and Agrostis capillaris are newly reported for sub-Saharan Africa and southern Africa and are also the first verified specimens reported for the African continent, with previous reports from northern-most Africa (Morocco, Algeria and/or Tunisia) uncertain. Jarava plumosa, introduced from South America and previously known for the whole of Africa from a single population in the Western Cape of South Africa, is newly reported from the border between the Eastern Cape, South Africa and Lesotho. The ecological implications, including the potential to become invasive, are discussed for each species, with taxonomic notes given to help differentiate them from closely resembling taxaCONCLUSION: These new records of alien grass species raise concerns over their potential ecological impact, particularly as they are found in an area of conservation importance, the DMC. Future efforts to monitor their distribution are of utmost importance <![CDATA[<b>The correct author citation for taxa in <i>Strumaria </i>and changes to subgenera in <i>Strumaria </i>and <i>Hessea </i>(Amaryllidaceae: Amaryllideae), with a synopsis of the actinomorphic-flowered genera of subtribe Strumariinae</b>]]> Aspects of the nomenclature and classification of the subtribe Strumariinae are corrected and emended as follows: Hessea subgenus Myophila (Snijman) Snijman and Strumaria subgenus Carpolyza (Salisb.) Snijman are described, and Strumaria section Gemmaria (Salisb.) Snijman is validated; the correct author citations for several names in Strumaria that were invalidly published by Jacquin are established; and a complete infrageneric synopsis for the actinomorphic-flowered taxa of subtribe Strumariinae is provided. <![CDATA[<b>Clarification of the confusion surrounding the generic name <i>Bryomorphe </i>Harv. (Asteraceae: Gnaphalieae), and the new genus <i>Muscosomorphe </i>J.C.Manning</b>]]> The monotypic genus Bryomorphe Harv. is found to be homotypic with Klenzea lycopodioides Sch.Bip., which is considered to be a later synonym of Dolichothrix ericoides (Lam.) Hilliard & Burtt, and Bryomorphe is thus a synonym of Dolichothrix. The new genus Muscosomorphe J.C.Manning is proposed to accommodate the species previously included in Bryomorphe as B. aretioides (Turcz) Druce, along with the new combination M. aretioides (Turcz) J.C.Manning. <![CDATA[<b><i>Chlorophytum boomense </i>(Agavaceae) is a synonym of <i>C. namaquense </i>from southern Namibia and the Northern Cape, South Africa</b>]]> Chlorophytum boomense (Agavaceae), a local endemic from southern Namibia, is found to be morphologically indistinguishable from C. namaquense, which ranges from southern Namibia to central Namaqualand, and is consequently synonymised in that species. <![CDATA[<b><i>Othonna koos-bekkeri Van </i>Jaarsv. is a synonym of <i>Othonna cerarioides </i>Magoswana & J.C.Manning (Asteraceae: Othonninae)</b>]]> Othonna koos-bekkeri Van Jaarsv. is recognised as a synonym of O. cerarioides Magoswana & J.C.Manning. <![CDATA[<b>Validation of two previously described species of <i>Annesorhiza</i></b>]]> Two species of Annesorhiza, A. laticostata Magee and A. radiata Magee, are here validated with reference to the previously and effectively published descriptions and diagnoses. <![CDATA[<b>Mushroom art in South Africa and Zimbabwe - Emil Holub: 1847-1902</b>]]> Emil Holub was a nineteenth century, Austro-Hungarian Czech, medical doctor with wide-ranging interests in ethnography and the natural sciences. During visits to southern Africa in the 1870s, he meticulously recorded everything that he encountered. Amongst his vast collection of artifacts, natural history specimens and notes were several sketches of fungi. These illustrations are reproduced here to document this valuable historical knowledge, tentatively identifying them in the context of the habitats through which Holub travelled.