Scielo RSS <![CDATA[Koedoe]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/rss.php?pid=0075-645820210001&lang=pt vol. 63 num. 1 lang. pt <![CDATA[SciELO Logo]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/img/en/fbpelogp.gif http://www.scielo.org.za <![CDATA[<b>Management guidelines for the conservation of heritage resources in Wakkerstroom, Mpumalanga</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S0075-64582021000100001&lng=pt&nrm=iso&tlng=pt Conservation of heritage resources, both architectural and cultural, focuses on the important of historical context, identity and to provide livelihoods for people. Management and stakeholder engagement are fundamental for conservation. This article describes the contribution of stakeholder perceptions in the development of management guidelines for the conservation of heritage resources in the town of Wakkerstroom, Mpumalanga. The concept of conservation is usually used with reference to the natural heritage; however, this should also include architectural and cultural conservation, in the same location, as is done in many other parts of the world. The study of the combined architectural and cultural heritage in Wakkerstroom is one of the first of such studies in South Africa. The natural heritage resources were identified and a stakeholder map developed after conducting interviews with 27 participants in the township of Esizameleni and 15 participants in the town. Resources identified included the provincial heritage sites of the Wakkerstroom Wetland, the Paul Kruger Bridge, St Mark's Anglican Church and the Old Courthouse Building. Heritage value definitions in the town area were centred on inheritance, whilst township stakeholders valued the identity aspect of heritage. A lack of communication, participation and awareness around heritage conservation was identified as a key issue amongst the communities. In addition, unlike natural heritage conservation, where the Wakkerstroom Natural Heritage Association takes care of the wetland, no organisation was found to be responsible for cultural heritage conservation in the town. The municipality urgently needs to address these concerns by developing an integrated management plan for heritage resource conservation. CONSERVATION IMPLICATIONS: Conservation includes more than just the conservation of natural heritage. The Wakkerstroom Natural Heritage Association (WNHA) manages natural heritage, but there is no organisation managing cultural heritage. Heritage conservation would benefit from the development of an integrated management plan lead by Dr Pixley Ka Isaka Seme Local Municipality together with the identified stakeholders <![CDATA[<b>A preliminary investigation of exposure to rabies virus in selected wildlife in the Kruger National Park, South Africa</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S0075-64582021000100002&lng=pt&nrm=iso&tlng=pt Rabies is a zoonotic disease caused by members of the genus Lyssavirus and causes fatal encephalitis in warm-blooded vertebrates. Rabies has been previously confirmed in domestic dog populations in close proximity to the Kruger National Park (KNP) and can potentially threaten conservation efforts. Domestic dogs infected with rabies virus occasionally enter the KNP and may be a source of rabies exposure to wildlife. Therefore, the aim of this study was to determine if wild carnivores in the KNP have been exposed to rabies virus, based on the presence of antibodies. Serum samples from the African wild dog (Lycaon pictus), spotted hyena (Crocuta crocuta), lion (Panthera leo), leopard (Panthera pardus) and banded mongoose (Mungos mungo) were tested for the presence of rabies-specific antibodies using the BioPro enzyme-linked immunoassay kit (BioPro ELISA kit). Selected sera were tested in parallel with the fluorescent antibody virus neutralisation test (FAVNT). Of the 168 carnivore serum samples screened, eight (4.8%) had a percentage blocking (PB) ≥ 40, indicating the presence of rabies-binding antibodies and confirmed with the FAVNT to be very low levels of rabies virus neutralising antibodies (range 0.00 IU/mL - 0.22 IU/mL). Rabies-binding antibodies detected by the BioPro ELISA kit and rabies virus neutralising antibodies shown by the FAVNT should however be interpreted with caution because of the lack of validation and species-specific cut-off values for wild carnivores. CONSERVATION IMPLICATIONS: The results of this study will assist in understanding the epidemiology of rabies in the KNP carnivores, especially exposure risk. The use of rabies diagnostic tools developed for domestic animals for disease surveillance in the KNP carnivores was also evaluated and the outcomes will further support research on rabies in free-ranging wildlife populations <![CDATA[<b>A review of fire management practices in African savanna-protected areas</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S0075-64582021000100003&lng=pt&nrm=iso&tlng=pt The level of understanding of the ecological effects of fires has improved over the past century, but comprehensive information on the practical application of fire remains restricted to a few well-studied areas, and management information is scattered. This article reviews the goals of fire management practices in African savanna-protected areas, and the approaches that have been adopted to achieve them. We identified 15 distinct fire management practices described in 107 papers from 19 African countries. Fire management has evolved in response to changing ecological understanding, as well as the shifting goals of protected areas. Currently, fire management practices can be divided into those that use fire to achieve specific ecological outcomes, those where fire is applied to promote diverse fire patterns across the landscape without necessarily having a specific ecological outcome in mind, and those that use fire to achieve specific, non-ecological or social goals. In larger, heterogeneous protected areas, fire management practices may vary at different sites in order to achieve a range of goals. We compared the effectiveness of each practice in terms of achieving 10 broad goals. These included ecological goals, for example, reversing woody and social goals (e.g. maintaining community relationships). CONSERVATION IMPLICATIONS: Fire management remains an important ecosystem process that can be manipulated to achieve particular goals in protected areas. The choice of a particular approach, or approaches, will depend on the circumstances pertaining to a particular protected area, and we provide examples of situations where each practice could be most appropriate <![CDATA[<b>Protecting and preserving South African aeolianite surfaces from graffiti</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S0075-64582021000100004&lng=pt&nrm=iso&tlng=pt Pleistocene aeolianite surfaces on the South African coastline, which occur in national parks, other protected areas, as well as unprotected areas, are of profound scientific, cultural, palaeoenvironmental and heritage importance. A threat is posed to these surfaces by the increasing presence of graffiti, which may deface or destroy fossil tracksites and other evidence of events that transpired on these surfaces when they were composed of unconsolidated sand tens of thousands of years ago. Increased awareness of the importance of this heritage resource is desirable, along with the development of strategies to prevent further damage. <![CDATA[<b>Elephant population responses to increased density in Kruger National Park</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S0075-64582021000100005&lng=pt&nrm=iso&tlng=pt The elephant population in the Kruger National Park (KNP) has been increasing since the cessation of culling in the mid-1990s. This contrasts with recent trends in elephant populations in many parts of Africa where poaching continues to decrease numbers. Logistic growth theory predicts that increased competition for vital resources when densities increase should serve to constrain population growth, implying a negative density-growth correlation. We tested this prediction using 28 years of elephant census data to investigate how the growth of the KNP's elephant population responds to increasing elephant density from the period 1985 to 2012. We expected a spatially variable population growth pattern in response to the distribution of elephant densities in the park and thus classified the park into zones with low, medium or high long-term (28 years) average, dry-season elephant density. Zones were named 'peripheral', 'semi-peripheral' and 'core' zones, respectively, and represent proxies of resource availability to elephant herds. Using a Stochastic Ricker growth model, we tested for the presence of negative density-dependence in population growth in the core versus peripheral zones. In response, we only detected density-dependent growth in the core zone. Overall the population grew at 4.1% per year, coupled with local recruitment rates that increased over time, particularly in the peripheral zones. These density-dependent trends support previous observations of homogenisation of elephant distribution and density across the KNP landscapes.CONSERVATION IMPLICATIONS: Density-dependent changes to elephant growth rates are scale-dependent (local vs. park level). Only core areas with long-term high density show signs of density-dependent growth. Overall, the distributions of elephants are homogenising in the KNP. Conservation authorities should monitor the impact of such homogenisation to landscape heterogeneity. The spatial variation of the negative density-growth correlation, especially between the core and peripheral zones, can be considered when developing effective strategies to manage the KNP elephant population <![CDATA[<b>Mammals in the mountains: An historical review and updated checklist of the mammals of the Mountain Zebra National Park</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S0075-64582021000100006&lng=pt&nrm=iso&tlng=pt Based on published and unpublished records, together with original data collected from regular field trips over a 15-year period, 68 mammal species have been reliably recorded from the Mountain Zebra National Park. I assessed the current status of all mammal species, in relation to park expansion and research effort over time (1937-2020). Although numerous large and charismatic mammal species have been reintroduced to the park since it was gazetted in 1937, both in an attempt to restore the historical diversity of the region and to attract tourists, research effort in the surveying of the smaller and more cryptic mammal species has been sorely lacking. I recommend that future survey work targets the small, mostly fossorial mammals (i.e. golden and rodent moles, elephant shrews and gerbils) and insectivorous bats.CONSERVATION IMPLICATIONS: This work provides critical presence data for several mammal species from an important protected area that straddles three biomes in South Africa <![CDATA[<b>First guidelines and suggested best protocol for surveying African elephants (<i>Loxodonta africana</i>) using a drone</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S0075-64582021000100007&lng=pt&nrm=iso&tlng=pt Unmanned aerial vehicles, commonly known as drones, are increasingly used in ecological management, conservation and research. Numerous reviews on drones tout almost unlimited potential within the wildlife sciences as they open up inaccessible habitats to observation. However, the influence of drones on the animals themselves is far less understood, and impact studies to construct protocols for best practices are urgently needed to minimise the potential for stress on target species. The impact of a quadcopter drone's approach speed, angle of approach and initial starting altitude was tested on the behavioural responses of African elephants (Loxodonta africana), along with sustained speed and flight pattern. Seventy-nine approach flights and 70 presence flights were conducted. The speed and angle of approach significantly impacted the success of a flight, but neither speed nor flight pattern had any measurable impact on elephants' behaviour during sustained flights. It is recommended that drones be launched at a distance of 100 m from an elephant or a herd of elephants, ascending to a height of 50 m by using an approach speed of 2m/s and an approach angle of 45 ° or less to successfully contact elephant targets.CONSERVATION IMPLICATIONS: This study aimed to provide a significant step towards the ethical use of drones in wildlife research. Further research is required to investigate the impacts of drones on other taxa. Physiological responses to drones, for example, would determine if physiological stress responses unlinked to behavioural indicators are of concern in elephants <![CDATA[<b>Is climate change a concern for the ownership of game within fenced wildlife areas?</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S0075-64582021000100008&lng=pt&nrm=iso&tlng=pt Unmanned aerial vehicles, commonly known as drones, are increasingly used in ecological management, conservation and research. Numerous reviews on drones tout almost unlimited potential within the wildlife sciences as they open up inaccessible habitats to observation. However, the influence of drones on the animals themselves is far less understood, and impact studies to construct protocols for best practices are urgently needed to minimise the potential for stress on target species. The impact of a quadcopter drone's approach speed, angle of approach and initial starting altitude was tested on the behavioural responses of African elephants (Loxodonta africana), along with sustained speed and flight pattern. Seventy-nine approach flights and 70 presence flights were conducted. The speed and angle of approach significantly impacted the success of a flight, but neither speed nor flight pattern had any measurable impact on elephants' behaviour during sustained flights. It is recommended that drones be launched at a distance of 100 m from an elephant or a herd of elephants, ascending to a height of 50 m by using an approach speed of 2m/s and an approach angle of 45 ° or less to successfully contact elephant targets.CONSERVATION IMPLICATIONS: This study aimed to provide a significant step towards the ethical use of drones in wildlife research. Further research is required to investigate the impacts of drones on other taxa. Physiological responses to drones, for example, would determine if physiological stress responses unlinked to behavioural indicators are of concern in elephants <![CDATA[<b>Adaptive and transformative learning in environmental water management: Implementing the Crocodile River's Ecological Reserve in Kruger National Park, South Africa</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S0075-64582021000100009&lng=pt&nrm=iso&tlng=pt Freshwater biodiversity loss in the Anthropocene escalates the need for successful environmental water management to sustain human benefitting ecosystem services. Of the world's river basins, one-third are now severely water depleted, rendering the quality and quantity of water to maintain or restore freshwater ecosystem integrity increasingly urgent. However, managing environmental water is intricate because of complexity and uncertainty in interacting social and biophysical system components, and trade-offs between costs and benefits of implementing environmental flows. Learning enabled adaptive management - embracing the uncertainty - is essential; however, practising adaptive management (worldwide) is challenging; single-, double- and triple-loop learning is required, along with social learning, to tackle complex problems. There is progressive realisation of environmental flows (Ecological Reserve) in the Crocodile River, South Africa, linked to the Kruger National Park, using Strategic Adaptive Management (SAM). In this research article, we reflected on adaptive (single- and double-loop) learning and transformative (triple-loop) learning capacity emergent in SAM between 2009 and 2019 whilst also considering social learning potentials. We found evidence of preconditions (e.g. transparency) for social learning within a burgeoning stakeholder 'community-of-practice', likely fostering capacities (e.g. information sharing) for sustained social learning. Adaptive and transformative learning is enabled by social learning, underpinned by ongoing nested feedbacks supporting assessment and reflection, which facilitates single-, double- and triple-loop learning. Champions exist and are vital for sustaining the adaptive management system. Executing adaptive and transformative learning aids in positive change across the range of ecological, social and economic outcomes that are essential for success in environmental water programmes, worldwide. CONSERVATION IMPLICATIONS: Crocodile River Ecological Reserve implementation, associated with Kruger National Park, provided an important national precedent (lessons) for protecting the ecological integrity of river systems - obligatory under the National Water Act (Act No 36 of 1998). We demonstrated the importance of ongoing stakeholder learning for successful management of the Ecological Reserve <![CDATA[<b>The spatial distribution of the woodland communities and their associated environmental drivers in the Golden Gate Highlands National Park, South Africa</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S0075-64582021000100010&lng=pt&nrm=iso&tlng=pt The extreme variability in the topography, altitude and climatic conditions in the temperate Grassland Mountains of Southern Africa is associated with the complex mosaic of grassland communities with pockets of woodland patches. Understanding the relationships between plant communities and environmental parameters is essential in biodiversity conservation, especially for current and future climate change predictions. This article focused on the spatial distribution of woodland communities and their associated environmental drivers in the Golden Gate Highlands (GGHNP) National Park in South Africa. A generalized linear model (GLM) assuming a binomial distribution, was used to determine the optimal environmental variables influencing the spatial distribution of the woodland communities. The Coefficient of Variation (CV) was relatively higher for the topographic ruggedness index (68.78%), topographic roughness index (68.03), aspect (60.04%), coarse fragments (37.46%) and the topographic wetness index (31.33) whereas soil pH, bulk density, sandy and clay contents had relatively less variation (2.39%, 3.23%, 7.56% and 8.46% respectively). In determining the optimal number of environmental variables influencing the spatial distribution of woodland communities, roughness index, topographic wetness index, soil coarse fragments, soil organic carbon, soil cation exchange capacity and remote-sensing based vegetation condition index were significant (p < 0.05) and positively correlated with the woodland communities. Soil nitrogen, clay content, soil pH, fire and elevation were also significant but negatively correlated with the woodland communities. The area under the curve (AUC) of the receiver operating characteristics (ROC) was 0.81. This was indicative of a Parsimonious Model with explanatory predictive power for determination of optimal environmental variables in vegetation ecology. CONSERVATION IMPLICATIONS: The isolated woodland communities are sources of floristic diversity and important biogeographical links between larger forest areas in the wider Drakensberg region. They provide suitable habitats for a larger number of forest species and harbour some of the endemic tree species of South Africa. They also provide watershed protection and other important ecosystem services. Understanding the drivers influencing the spatial distribution and persistence of these woodland communities is therefore key to conservation planning in the area. <![CDATA[<b>Review of <i>Bats of Southern and Central Africa</i>, second edition</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S0075-64582021000100011&lng=pt&nrm=iso&tlng=pt The extreme variability in the topography, altitude and climatic conditions in the temperate Grassland Mountains of Southern Africa is associated with the complex mosaic of grassland communities with pockets of woodland patches. Understanding the relationships between plant communities and environmental parameters is essential in biodiversity conservation, especially for current and future climate change predictions. This article focused on the spatial distribution of woodland communities and their associated environmental drivers in the Golden Gate Highlands (GGHNP) National Park in South Africa. A generalized linear model (GLM) assuming a binomial distribution, was used to determine the optimal environmental variables influencing the spatial distribution of the woodland communities. The Coefficient of Variation (CV) was relatively higher for the topographic ruggedness index (68.78%), topographic roughness index (68.03), aspect (60.04%), coarse fragments (37.46%) and the topographic wetness index (31.33) whereas soil pH, bulk density, sandy and clay contents had relatively less variation (2.39%, 3.23%, 7.56% and 8.46% respectively). In determining the optimal number of environmental variables influencing the spatial distribution of woodland communities, roughness index, topographic wetness index, soil coarse fragments, soil organic carbon, soil cation exchange capacity and remote-sensing based vegetation condition index were significant (p < 0.05) and positively correlated with the woodland communities. Soil nitrogen, clay content, soil pH, fire and elevation were also significant but negatively correlated with the woodland communities. The area under the curve (AUC) of the receiver operating characteristics (ROC) was 0.81. This was indicative of a Parsimonious Model with explanatory predictive power for determination of optimal environmental variables in vegetation ecology. CONSERVATION IMPLICATIONS: The isolated woodland communities are sources of floristic diversity and important biogeographical links between larger forest areas in the wider Drakensberg region. They provide suitable habitats for a larger number of forest species and harbour some of the endemic tree species of South Africa. They also provide watershed protection and other important ecosystem services. Understanding the drivers influencing the spatial distribution and persistence of these woodland communities is therefore key to conservation planning in the area.