Scielo RSS <![CDATA[Koedoe]]> vol. 51 num. 1 lang. en <![CDATA[SciELO Logo]]> <![CDATA[<b>The status of <i>Koedoe</i> one year after changing to an online publication mode</b>]]> <![CDATA[<b>Spiders and scorpions (Arachnida: Araneae, Scorpiones) of the Nylsvley Nature Reserve, South Africa</b>]]> Among other activities, the South African National Survey of Arachnida (SANSA) aims to survey the biodiversity of arachnids in protected areas of South Africa. The study presented here documents the diversity of spiders and scorpions collected from the Nylsvley Nature Reserve (NNR), South Africa over a 30-year period. The spider fauna of NNR contains 175 species (7.5% of the total recorded in South Africa), in 131 genera and 37 families. Thomisidae is the most diverse spider family in the reserve, with 33 species (18.9% of the total), followed by Salticidae, with 20 species (11.4%), and Araneidae, with 18 species (10.3%). The majority of species (125) are wandering spiders (71.4%), whereas 50 species (28.6%) build webs. Wandering ground-dwelling spiders comprise 52 species, whereas 73 wandering species have been collected from the vegetation. A total of 158 species are new records for the reserve and Oxyopes tuberculatus Lessert, 1915 is newly recorded for South Africa. Six spider species may be new to science. The scorpion fauna of NNR comprises five species (5% of the total recorded in South Africa) in three genera and two families. Buthidae are more diverse in the reserve, with four species and two genera represented. The scorpion fauna of the reserve includes two fossorial and three epigeic species, representing five ecomorphotypes: semi-psammophilous, pelophilous, lithophilous, corticolous and lapidicolous. Five additional scorpion species may be recorded if the reserve is sampled more intensively using appropriate techniques. <![CDATA[<b>Developing thresholds of potential concern for invasive alien species</b>: <b>hypotheses and concepts</b>]]> The Kruger National Park (KNP) has developed and refined a system of management called 'strategic adaptive management' (SAM), which rests on the concept of 'threshold of potential concern' (TPC). TPCs represent end-points in a continuum of change. When thresholds are reached - at which point concerns of negative impacts on biodiversity are raised - management options are explicitly considered and implemented. This paper describes the TPCs developed for monitoring and managing invasive alien species (IAS). More importantly, however, it describes the conceptual understanding, principles and hypotheses adopted as the foundations for setting these TPCs. In accordance with adaptive management practices, the TPCs will be revised as the ecological and conceptual understanding of invasions grows and information is gained through research in the KNP and elsewhere. CONSERVATION IMPLICATION: In accepting that species and systems are variable, and that flux is inevitable and desirable, these TPCs developed for invasive alien species specifically, provide end points against which monitoring can be assessed. Once a threshold is reached, the cause of the threshold being exceeded is examined and management interventions recommended. <![CDATA[<b>A checklist of the non-acarine arachnids (Chelicerata: Arachnida) of the De Hoop Nature Reserve, Western Cape Province, South Africa</b>]]> As part of the South African National Survey of Arachnida (SANSA) in conserved areas, arachnids were collected in the De Hoop Nature Reserve in the Western Cape Province, South Africa. The survey was carried out between 1999 and 2007, and consisted of five intensive surveys between two and 12 days in duration. Arachnids were sampled in five broad habitat types, namely fynbos, wetlands, i.e. De Hoop Vlei, Eucalyptus plantations at Potberg and Cupido's Kraal, coastal dunes near Koppie Alleen and the intertidal zone at Koppie Alleen. A total of 274 species representing five orders, 65 families and 191 determined genera were collected, of which spiders (Araneae) were the dominant taxon (252 spp., 174 genera, 53 families). The most species rich families collected were the Salticidae (32 spp.), Thomisidae (26 spp.), Gnaphosidae (21 spp.), Araneidae (18 spp.), Theridiidae (16 spp.) and Corinnidae (15 spp.). Notes are provided on the most commonly collected arachnids in each habitat. CONSERVATION IMPLICATION: This study provides valuable baseline data on arachnids conserved in De Hoop Nature Reserve, which can be used for future assessments of habitat transformation, alien invasive species and climate change on arachnid biodiversity. <![CDATA[<b>The socio-economic impact of the Karoo National Park</b>]]> National parks in South Africa are seen as major tourism assets due to the wildlife and various activities for international and local visitors. Little is known of the socio-economic contribution of these parks to their respective local economies. The purpose of this research was to determine the socio-economic impact of the Karoo National Park (Karoo NP) in South Africa, especially the economic impact of the Karoo NP on the local economy, the impact of tourism business development in the Karoo district, and how the park affects the community. Three surveys were used to determine the socio-economic impact: a community survey, a business survey and a tourist survey. The results show that the park has an impact in terms of production, income generation and employment in the area, but this impact is not as significant as that of other national parks in South Africa. A small percentage (4%) of businesses in Beaufort West owe their existence to the Karoo NP, but most rely on tourist spending. For the park to have a greater impact, it is imperative to increase accommodation capacity, offer more activities and promote activities and attractions in the region. CONSERVATION IMPLICATION:The importance of this article lies in the economic value that conservation management generates as well as identifying the benefits that communities derive from the existence of a national park. It also supports the notion that conservation entails more than just conserving fauna and flora and highlights the interdependence of conservation, tourism and community participation. <![CDATA[<b>Influence of fire frequency on <i>Colophospermum mopane</i> and <i>Combretum apiculatum</i> woodland structure and composition in northern Gonarezhou National Park, Zimbabwe</b>]]> We investigated the long-term effects of fire frequency on Colophospermum mopane and Combretum apiculatum woodland structure and composition in northern Gonarezhou National Park (GNP), Zimbabwe. Fire frequency was categorised as high (every 1-2 years), medium (every 3-4 years) and low (every 5-6 years). The following variables were measured or recorded: plant height, species name, canopy depth and diameter, basal circumference, number of stems per plant, plant status (dead or alive) and number of woody plants in a plot. There was a positive correlation (r = 0.55, P = 0.0007) between annual area burnt (total from January to December) and annual rainfall (average over two rain stations per rain year, July to June) between 1972 and 2005. A total of 64 woody species were recorded from C. mopane and C. apiculatum woodlands. Mean plant height increased from 4.5 to 8.2 meters in C. mopane woodland and from 4.5 to 5.1 meters in C. apiculatum woodland in areas subjected to high and low fire frequencies. In C. mopane woodland, low fire frequency was characterised by a significantly low density of woody plants (P < 0.001), however, with a significantly high mean basal area (P < 0.001). Fire frequency had no significant effect on species diversity (P > 0.05). Our results suggest that C. mopane and C. apiculatum woodlands are in a state of structural transformation. Fire frequency effects, however, appear to be woodland specific. Fire management strategies in GNP should take into consideration annual rainfall and the different vegetation types. CONSERVATION IMPLICATION: This study provides valuable information on fire frequency effects on woody vegetation in northern GNP, which can be used in fire management programmes for the park. The positive relationship between annual rainfall and annual area burnt emphasises the need for wildlife managers to consider annual rainfall in fire management. <![CDATA[<b>Why travel motivation and socio-demographics matter in managing a national park</b>]]> The Addo Elephant National Park is one of only a few national parks in the world that offers the Big 7 experience and is therefore one of South Africa's prime tourism destinations. The park plays an important role in the regional economy and has become a hub for tourism development. The aim of this article is to determine the extent to which socio-demographic and behavioural and motivational indicators influence the spending of tourists to the park. A better understanding of the latter could help marketers and planners to increase the economic impact of the park. Since 2001, surveys have been conducted among tourists to the park and have included a number of socio-demographic, behavioural and motivational questions. In this analysis, 537 questionnaires were used. The methodology used includes factor analysis, cross-sectional regression analysis and pseudo-panel data analysis to determine and compare possible influences on spending. The research identifies six motives for tourists travelling to the Addo Elephant National Park; these are nature, activities, family and socialisation, escape, attractions and photography. The research found that a combination of socio-demographic and motivational factors influences visitor spending decisions. Added to this, the research confirms that tourist attractions, including national parks, differ from one another and that the variables that influence spending therefore also differ. CONSERVATION IMPLICATION: In order for national parks to fulfil their conservation mandate, they require funding. One of the main sources of income for national parks is tourist spending. This article identifies the socio-demographic and motivational factors that influence tourist spending. Hence, park management can use these results in order to market and create opportunities for tourists to spend more thereby benefiting conservation directly. <![CDATA[<b>Plant communities of the Soutpansberg Arid Northern Bushveld</b>]]> The Soutpansberg Arid Northern Bushveld is one of eight major vegetation types (MVT) described for the Soutpansberg-Blouberg region. The plant communities of this MVT are described in detail. Main ecological drivers of the vegetation structure and species composition of these communities are discussed and some conservation recommendations are made. Phytosociological data from a subset of 72 Braun-Blanquet sample plots collected in the Soutpansberg Arid Northern Bushveld were classified using Two-way Indicator Species Analysis (TWINSPAN) and ordinated using a Detrended Correspondence Analysis (DECORANA). The resulting classification was further refined with table-sorting procedures based on the Braun-Blanquet floristic-sociological approach to vegetation classification using the computer software MEGATAB and JUICE. Eight plant communities were identified and described as Commiphora tenuipetiolata-Adansonia digitata short open woodland, Ledebouria ovatifolia-Commiphora mollis short bushland, Phyllanthus reticulatus-Acacia nigrescens short bushland, Tinnea rhodesiana-Combretum apiculatum short bushland, Dichrostachys cinerea subsp. africana-Spirostachys africana low thickets, Themeda triandra-Pterocarpus rotundifolius short closed grassland on steep basaltic slopes, Cyperus albostriatus-Syzygium cordatum sandveld wetlands, and Sesamothamnus lugardii-Catophractes alexandri tall sparse shrubland. These plant communities are event-driven ecosystems, predominantly influenced by frequent droughts, exposure to desiccation and unpredictable rainfall events. The complex topography of the Soutpansberg further contributes to the aridity of these ecosystems. The classification and ordination analyses show similar groupings in the vegetation of the Soutpansberg Arid Mountain Bushveld. This confirms the usefulness of complimentary analysis, using both classification and ordination methods on a single data set in order to examine patterns and to search for group structure. CONSERVATION IMPLICATIONS: The results from this study will alter existing regional vegetation maps profoundly. The described plant communities of these arid event-driven ecosystems should be used as benchmark examples of the region's primary vegetation. Conservation and management planning should be based on these vegetation units. <![CDATA[<b>The classification, mapping and description of the vegetation of the Rooipoort Nature Reserve, Northern Cape, South Africa</b>]]> The need for a scientifically-based wildlife management plan and for more knowledge on vegetation led to an investigation into the plant ecology of the Rooipoort Nature Reserve. The main aim of this study was therefore to classify, describe and map the vegetation of the reserve. The floristic data were analysed according to the Braun-Blanquet procedure using the BBPC suite. The data analysis resulted in the identification of 15 communities that can be grouped into ten major community types. This resulted in five ecology-based management units, which could assist with the compilation of an ecologically sound management plan for the reserve in order to achieve sustainable utilisation of the natural resources. The Rooipoort Nature Reserve is one of the oldest and largest private nature reserves in South Africa and as such deserves to be conserved and protected. The riverine and pan vegetation communities are considered to be endangered and are in need of special conservation and protection. CONSERVATION IMPLICATION: The results suggest five management units, which will assist in the compilation of an ecologically sound management plan for the RNR, in order to allow sustainable utilization of natural resources. <![CDATA[<b>Alien plant species list and distribution for Camdeboo National Park, Eastern Cape Province, South Africa</b>]]> Protected areas globally are threatened by the potential negative impacts that invasive alien plants pose, and Camdeboo National Park (CNP), South Africa, is no exception. Alien plants have been recorded in the CNP since 1981, before it was proclaimed a national park by South African National Parks in 2005. This is the first publication of a list of alien plants in and around the CNP. Distribution maps of some of the first recorded alien plant species are also presented and discussed. To date, 39 species of alien plants have been recorded, of which 13 are invasive and one is a transformer weed. The majority of alien plant species in the park are herbaceous (39%) and succulent (24%) species. The most widespread alien plant species in the CNP are Atriplex inflata (= A. lindleyi subsp. inflata), Salsola tragus (= S. australis) and cacti species, especially Opuntia ficus-indica. Eradication and control measures that have been used for specific problematic alien plant species are described. Conservation implications: This article represents the first step in managing invasive alien plants and includes the collation of a species list and basic information on their distribution in and around the protected area. This is important for enabling effective monitoring of both new introductions and the distribution of species already present. We present the first species list and distribution information for Camdeboo National Park. <![CDATA[<b>A classification and description of the shrubland vegetation on Platberg, Eastern Free State, South Africa</b>]]> The natural environment is constantly under threat from human-related activities. Platberg, overlooking the town of Harrismith in the Free State, is an inselberg that presents a refuge for indigenous plants and animals. The natural vegetation of the area is threatened by various farming and grazing practices, as well as by commercial development. In order to obtain baseline data and to obtain an improved understanding of the long-term ecological processes, the vegetation of Platberg was investigated to establish Afroalpine floristic links to the Drakensberg, as well as for the management of natural resources. From a Two-Way Indicator-Species Analysis (TWINSPAN) classification, refined by Braun-Blanquet methods, four major plant communities were identified, which were subdivided into fynbos, wetland, woody/shrub and grassland. A classification and description of the shrubland is presented in this article. The analysis showed the shrubland divided into 20 different plant communities, which are grouped into eight major communities, 13 sub-communities and eight variants. A total of 450 species was recorded from 109 relev├ęs. A total of 24 endemic, or near-endemic, and Red Data species belonging to the Drakensberg Alpine Centre (DAC) was collected, with 22 alien (introduced) species also being recorded. Numerous floristic links with the DAC, the Cape Floristic Region and the Grassland Bioregions to the north and west were found. Conservation implications: The floristic composition and community analysis proves Platberg to be an important centre for plant diversity, with high species richness, a variety of habitats, and complex ecosystems. This description of the woodland communities can be used to assist with the setting of criteria for the management and protection of inselbergs in the province.