Scielo RSS <![CDATA[Koedoe]]> vol. 61 num. 1 lang. <![CDATA[SciELO Logo]]> <![CDATA[<b>Monitoring consumptive resource use in South African national parks</b>]]> Monitoring is an essential component of measuring the performance of protected areas. This requirement led to the development of a biodiversity monitoring system for South African National Parks (SANParks). The system comprises of ten major programmes, each focusing on a core area of conservation biodiversity monitoring, with resource use being one of the focal areas. With the growing appreciation of the importance of natural resources for the socio-economic well-being of communities and other stakeholders, sustainable resource use is an important component of the management of natural areas and national parks. To gauge sustainability, a sound monitoring and research programme that fits within the context of the SANParks' adaptive management approach towards social-ecological system management is required. The purpose of this article was to define the context and scope in which consumptive resource use takes place within SANParks and to outline the criteria necessary for developing a sound monitoring programme to assess the sustainability of such use. The monitoring programme is structured in view of the fact that sustainable resource use is achievable only where all dimensions of sustainability (social, economic and ecological) are considered simultaneously. In terms of the social and economic dimensions of sustainability, the programme provides for assessing stakeholder needs, trends in resource use and the social and economic impacts of resource use. Monitoring that relates to the ecological dimension of sustainability of biological resource use deals with the rate of turnover and population dynamics of target species, as well as harvest impact. In terms of abiotic (non-renewable) resources, monitoring deals with sound management practices to minimise impact on the environment, and to optimise benefits through responsible use. CONSERVATION IMPLICATIONS: The resource use monitoring programme is intended to ensure that monitoring relating to the harvesting of natural resources from national parks is scientifically sound and conducted in a structured way, towards meeting the objective of sustainable use and compliance with national legislation. The article illustrates how SANParks meets its obligation to monitor biodiversity conservation while at the same time meeting the needs for the consumptive use of resources. <![CDATA[<b>Use of a rapid roadside survey to detect potentially invasive plant species along the Garden Route, South Africa</b>]]> Early detection of emerging or sleeper weeds and monitoring of alien plant invasions forms the foundation of effective invasive alien plant management. Using a rapid roadside survey technique, we aimed to (1) establish a baseline of alien plant distribution and abundance along roads in the Garden Route, South Africa, and (2) identify priority species (particularly sleeper weeds) and priority areas to inform appropriate management action. We surveyed along 530 km of roads and recorded 109 alien and/or extralimital species across 1942 point locations. Of these, 35 species were considered to be sleeper weeds on account of displaying estimated dispersal distances distinctive of invasive plants and not being listed by the South African Plant Invaders Atlas (SAPIA) or regulated by South African legislation. Roads along natural forest and fynbos vegetation (often within the Garden Route National Park) displayed lower incidences of alien plants than those associated with degraded or transformed land, with roads along farmland associated with the highest incidences of alien plants. Roads in the Southern Cape region had more species and higher densities of alien plants than roads in the Tsitsikamma region, and a few species were exclusive to either. CONSERVATION IMPLICATIONS: Our inventory contributed significant new records and range extensions to SAPIA, while the identified sleeper weeds offered suggestions for species that may be considered for regulation under the National Environmental Management: Biodiversity Act of South Africa. We furthermore provided information to facilitate (1) timely management of emerging invasive alien plants, (2) prioritisation of species and areas for management action, and (3) future monitoring of alien plants in the Garden Route National Park and surrounds <![CDATA[<b>The feasibility of national parks in South Africa endorsing a community development agenda: The case of Mokala National Park and two neighbouring rural communities</b>]]> This article explores the feasibility of South African National Parks (SANParks) endorsing a community development agenda, using Mokala National Park (MNP) and two neighbouring rural communities as case study. A three-phase sequential exploratory, mixed-methods approach was followed: an initial exploratory qualitative phase aimed at identifying the development needs of the two communities; a quantitative phase aimed at verifying and quantifying the identified needs; and a final qualitative phase (with a minor quantitative component) to determine what parks can reasonably achieve in terms of community development based on their available resources, capacity and expertise. Qualitative data were collected via semi-structured interviews (Phase 1: n = 22; Phase 3: n = 6), which were thematically analysed. Quantitative data were collected via a structured questionnaire (Phase 2: n = 484; Phase 3: n = 6) and analysed using SPSS 23. Findings revealed that the communities' most significant needs centred on employment opportunities; improved healthcare, service delivery and waste management; and education. Community members also expressed the need for improved community policing, safety and security; social services; agricultural support and training; general skills development and training; local leadership; recreational facilities; local economic development and conservation initiatives. Results from the third phase of the study suggest that parks such as MNP can realistically only address some of the identified community needs significantly; primarily job creation (via temporary employment), skills development, local economic development, support of local conservation (especially via environmental education) and, to a lesser extent, agricultural support and training and permanent job creation. CONSERVATION IMPLICATIONS: The findings could be of practical use to SANParks to steer its community development initiatives towards attaining a more optimal balance between actual community needs and what the organisation can realistically offer, thus rendering SANParks' efforts more efficient and effective in supporting the establishment of equitable and sustainable rural communities <![CDATA[<i><b>Vachellia erioloba</b></i><b> dynamics over 38 years in the Kalahari Gemsbok National Park, South Africa</b>]]> Vachellia erioloba is a keystone tree species in the southern Kalahari. This long-term study over nearly four decades tracks two populations in different landscapes (the interior sandy duneveld versus the clayey Nossob riverbed) of a large conservation area and offers valuable data on this species under natural soil moisture conditions and with limited anthropogenic influences. In 1978, 18 trees were permanently marked in a 1 ha plot in the interior duneveld of the Kalahari Gemsbok National Park (Dankbaar site). In the Nossob riverbed all trees in a 1 ha plot were surveyed in 1979 (Grootkolk site). At both sites, tree height and stem circumference were subsequently measured at irregular intervals until 2016 in order to investigate growth rates and population structure. Of the 18 marked trees at Dankbaar, six died and three showed coppice regrowth following substantial dieback after a fire. A mean height increase of 60 mm/year was recorded and the mean height of the remaining uncoppiced trees was 6.8 m in 2016. Stem diameter growth rate per year varied widely between trees and between years with a mean value of 2.5 mm/year over the 38-year period. Growth rate calculated for three 10-year intervals varied. Using the mean growth rate derived in the current study and stem size of the dead trees, the mean age of the trees when they died was estimated. At the Grootkolk site, the position of the centroid in relation to the midpoint of the diameter class range suggests that this population is gradually becoming a mature to old population with limited recruitment. This was supported by the size class distribution curves. However, no differences between slopes or intercepts of the stem diameter size class distributions were found. CONSERVATION IMPLICATIONS: This study was conducted in a large conservation area, that is, a natural ecosystem excluding most of the anthropogenic threats that are present outside of the park. The study illustrated that in the duneveld the population studied was self-sustaining, with recruitment occurring and large individuals presumably dying of old age. Although fire caused a few individuals to coppice, no fire-related deaths were reported. In the Nossob riverbed, surveys started in a stand of predominantly young trees and the size class distribution at that stage already showed a lack of recruitment. This stand is ageing and will likely disappear at this site; however, new young stands are appearing at other sites in the Nossob riverbed. Under the current conditions with negligible anthropogenic influences, it therefore appears that some V. erioloba populations in the park are increasing in size while others are decreasing, but that overall the species will persist. The impact of global climate change on this species is, however, unknown. <![CDATA[<b>Reproductive biology of the sausage tree (<i>Kigelia africana</i>) in Kruger National Park, South Africa</b>]]> Kigelia africana has large flowers that are vertebrate pollinated and very large fruits that are likely to be vertebrate dispersed. Our field surveys of size-class distributions of K. africana in the southern Kruger National Park (KNP) suggest a lack of recruitment. This is possibly the result of a failure of mutualistic relationships with vertebrate dispersers and/or pollinators. Breeding system experiments indicated that K. africana is an obligate out-crosser. Despite being primarily adapted for bat pollination, in KNP that K. africana is presently mainly pollinated by a diversity of largely facultatively nectarivorous bird species. Fruit-set is high, although trees isolated by > 50 m were found to suffer depressed seed output. Our preliminary investigation of dispersal suggests that fruits are largely ignored and are thus weakly attractive to potential dispersers. Seedlings placed out in the field in KNP suffered high levels (> 50%) of mortality compared to 17.5% in control plots. This threefold difference is the result of herbivory over a 2-month period. In summary, the adult centric population structure is probably not because of pollen or seed limitation but may result from dispersal limitation or excessive herbivory. <![CDATA[<i><b>Koedoe: African Protected Area Conservation and Science</b></i><b> - A retrospection: 1958 to 2018</b>]]> In 2018, Koedoe celebrated an unbroken publication record of 60 years. From uncertain beginnings in 1958, it is now a mature and important internationally recognised scientific journal focussing on conservation and science in national parks in South Africa and beyond into the African continent. After an overview of the emergence of national parks in the 20th century, this retrospective essay reflects on Koedoe's long and significant contribution to the field of national parks research and management. We identify and make easily available some of the seminal and influential articles that have appeared in the journal over this long time span. Principally relating to matters in national parks in South Africa, these articles (some coming from special issues of Koedoe) have been chosen for their variety as well as for the broader perspectives they open into the longer trajectory of national park conservation and management. Articles illustrate the evolution of paradigms from protectionist and species centric, to ecosystem focus, to complex socio-ecological systems and adaptive management. Conservationists, scientists and managers alike will benefit from an understanding of the transformations in their field over six decades together with appreciating the importance and usefulness of unpacking the intellectual journey of national park science in order to contextualise and enrich - even encourage and direct - present and future research. CONSERVATION IMPLICATIONS: The articles included in this essay produced important information that informed and guided later research. Introducing these contributions to a fresh audience we hope will also tempt readers to consult other back issues of this journal, which will benefit conservation by providing an understanding of the long-term transformations in the field. <![CDATA[<b>A checklist of the termites of Kruger National Park, South Africa</b>]]> The protection of biodiversity is critical to ecosystem function and is a primary management goal for conservation areas globally. Maintaining a current inventory of known diversity is a central component of achieving this goal and serves as an essential starting point for future research endeavours. Since the first published survey of termites in South Africa's Kruger National Park (KNP) over 55 years ago, our understanding of termite diversity has expanded sufficiently to merit an update and formal checklist. Here we revise the inventory of termite diversity in KNP and summarise the taxonomic and functional diversity of termites in the park. A thorough review of recent termite research in KNP added 6 new genera and 13 species to what was found in Coaton's original survey, with one genus, Anenteotermes, recorded for the first time in southern Africa. Based on the updated species checklist, the majority of genera in the park belong to Feeding Group II (39%) and the Termitidae family (75%). CONSERVATION IMPLICATIONS: In savannas, termites play crucial roles in nutrient cycling, water redistribution and plant dynamics. Systematically cataloguing termite diversity and assemblage composition in the park provides an essential baseline for scientific research, aids biodiversity conservation efforts and encourages scientists and managers to consider termites in ecosystem functioning and management. Having more detailed descriptions of genera, species and feeding groups allows for more tangible, ecologically relevant attributions of termite influence, facilitates enhanced inquiry and allows for more realistic quantification of termite roles in key ecosystem processes.