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					                   PLANT CONSERVATION UNIT

  “The Mission of the Plant Conservation Unit is to develop human and institutional
 capacity through the pursuit of scientific knowledge about the biological functioning
 of and pressures facing the flora of southern Africa, particularly the succulent karoo
and fynbos biomes, so that people are able to make sound management decisions for
      the sustainable use, conservation and restoration of this unique asset.”

                                ANNUAL REVIEW

             [Covering the period 1 January to 31 December 2007]
                                       Plant Conservation Unit: Annual Report 2007


PERSONNEL                                                                  3

DIRECTOR’S REPORT                                                          5

RESEARCH PROGRAMMES                                                        6

         LAND USE AND SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT                              6

         LANDSCAPE HISTORY AND PALAEOECOLOGY                              17

         DISTURBANCE AND RESTORATION ECOLOGY                              29

         PLANT USE                                                        34

         CONSERVATION PLANNING AND BIODIVERSITY                           38

         INVASIVE PLANT ECOLOGY                                           41


TEACHING                                                                  46

PUBLICATIONS                                                              47

EXTENSION                                                                 50

   Leslie Hill Succulent Karoo Trust                                      50

   Scientific extension                                                   51

         CONFERENCES, WORKSHOPS & SEMINARS                                51

         EDITORIAL, REVIEW & COMMITTEE WORK                               55

   Community services                                                     55

   Consultancy work                                                       56

                                             Plant Conservation Unit: Annual Report 2007


PCU staff are supported by funds from the bequest and from the Faculty of
Science’s General Operating Budget

Hoffman M.T.      Director
Gillson L.        Deputy Director
Sauls M.          Administrative Assistant


Contract Staff, Associated Researchers and post-docs are supported
primarily from external contracts or ad hoc funds

Arthur M.         Contract Staff
Boyce A.          Research Assistant [WADE]
Botha S.          Associated Researcher [NRI/CEPF]
Carrick P.        Associated Researcher [NRI/CEPF]
Chisholm R.       Visiting Reseaercher (Princeton University)
Claassen J.J.     Research Assistant [BIOTA]
Cloete S.         Research Assistant [BIOTA]
Davids L.         Research Assistant [BIOTA]
Gallo J.          Post-doc (CEPF)
Holmes P.         Associated Researcher
Krug R.           Post-doc (BIOTA/DST)
Kruger R.         Associated Researcher [NRI/CEPF]
Lot M.            Research Assistant [BIOTA]
Price P.          Research Assistant [WADE]
Rohde R.          Honorary Research Associate [WADE]
Todd S.           Contract Staff [WADE]
Waldeck D.        Research Assistant [WADE]

                                           Plant Conservation Unit: Annual Report 2007


Students are supported primarily from external contracts or ad hoc funds (*
indicates that the student graduated during the reporting period)

PhD Students
Anderson P.
Colville J.F.
Foxcroft L.*
Naidoo M.
Samuels I.
Shiponeni N.*
Swart E.
Von Hase A.
Worth Z.

MSc students
Ballantyne F.
Blanchard R.
Bonora D.
Erasmus E.
Nongwe N.
Puttick J.
Quick L.
Wigley B.*
Wistebaar N.

BSc (Hons) Students
Soares M.*
Thomas A.*

                                              Plant Conservation Unit: Annual Report 2007

DIRECTOR’S REPORT                               authors and reviewers. While we continue
                                                to produce papers and students our
In 2007 the official launch of the re-named     contributions to the broader community
Plant Conservation Unit took place. This        have also been rewarded with my receipt
was coupled with an innovative                  of the Alan Pifer Award in 2007. This
photographic competition which was              award is given primarily for our ongoing
judged by colleagues from SANBI and             work in the communal areas of
Stellenbosch University. The winning            Namaqualand and I would like to thank
photographs were block mounted and have         and acknowledge the many students,
been used to beautify the department’s          research colleagues and community
lecture theatres.     Many thanks to all        members, particularly from Paulshoek,
involved in this initiative and particular      who have supported and built our
Lindsey Gillson who provided the vision         programmes over the last decade.
and energy for the successful launch.
                                                The Plant Conservation Unit can also be
By correctly positioning ourselves within       extremely proud of Lindsey Gillson’s
UCT’s Institute, Centre and Unit                recent P-rating by the NRF. This is only
framework we can now concentrate on our         one of three P-ratings given out in 2007
core business of research, post graduate        and places Lindsey amongst the best
student supervision and teaching. Clarity       emerging scientists in the country.
on this issue has been critical and our         Congratulations on this excellent and well-
renewed focus shows in the excellent            deserved recognition.
outputs we have achieved in 2007. These
include a large number of publications in       Our task for 2008 is much the same as for
good journals and the graduation of two         2007. We need to graduate our Honours,
PhD, one MSc and two Honours level              MSc and PhD students, we need to publish
students. This relatively high level of         our research where it will be read and
postgraduate student output within the          cited, and we need to participate in
PCU looks set to continue for a few more        scholarly activities at all levels from the
years as the more senior and long-serving       departmental to the international arena. I
students wrap up their studies.                 am convinced that we are on the right track
                                                and look forward to an interesting and
Our relatively large research output in         productive year.
2007 was helped considerably by the
publication of two special issues in 2007,
one co-edited by myself and one co-edited       Timm      Hoffman      (Director:    Plant
by Lindsey Gillson. These special issues        Conservation Unit)
are particularly noteworthy as they
combine our commitment to both the
winter rainfall region (Journal of Arid
Environments special issue on Land use in
Namaqualand) and the role of long-term
data in conservation science (Transactions
of the Philosophical Society B series
special issue on Biodiversity hotspots
through time). Seeing a special issue
through from conception to publication is
no small achievement and demands
intellectual leadership, administrative
drudgery and lots of arm-twisting of

                                          Plant Conservation Unit: Annual Report 2007

RESEARCH                                    Dr Dave Richardson – Maths & Applied
                                            Maths, UCT
PROGRAMMES                                  Dr Rick Rohde - Centre for African
                                            Studies, University of Edinburgh/UCT
Land    use       and     sustainable       HRA
development                                 Dr Ute Schmiedel – BIOTA
                                            Mary Seely - Desert Research Foundation
Programme Leader & Research Team            of Namibia (DRFN).
Prof Timm Hoffman
Ms Moon Arthur – PCU
Ms Pippin Anderson – PCU/BIOTA              Overview
Ms Anna-Marie Boyce – WADE/Buffels          This research programme focuses on the
River Community                             sustainability of land use practices in
Mr Vonkie Claassen – PCU/Paulshoek          conservation areas, communal areas and on
Community                                   private farms in the winter rainfall region
Mr Sampie Cloete – PCU/Paulshoek            of South Africa. Emphasis is placed on
Community                                   understanding the impacts that people and
Mr Ryno Erasmus – PCU/Sanbona               their land use practices have on the
Wildlife Reserve                            landscape and suggesting how such
Mr James Puttick – PCU/PFIAO/SANPAD         impacts might be mitigated. It also focuses
Mrs Mariana Lot – BIOTA/Paulshoek           strongly on understanding the basic drivers
Community                                   of ecosystem processes in the Succulent
Ms Marla Naidoo – PCU                       Karoo. A highlight for 2007 was the
Mr Ndumiso Nongwe - PCU                     publication of a Special Issue of the
Ms Ndafuda Shiponeni – PCU                  Journal of Arid Environments dedicated to
Ms Penny Price – PCU/WADE                   the socio-economic, ecological and
Mr Igshaan Samuels – ARC                    conservation issues of Namaqualand. It
Mr Simon Todd – PCU/WADE                    builds on the Namaqualand Colloquium
Daferey    Waldeck    –   PCU/WADE/         which the PCU co-organised in Springbok
Rooifontein Community                       in 2005. The Special Issue is comprised of
Ms Thuli Wistebaar – PCU/PFIAO/SANBI        18 theme papers and appears as Volume
Programme Partners
Dr Nicky Allsopp – Range and Forage         Projects
Institute, ARC                              (a) Long-term research programme in the
Dr Gerardo Benito – CSIC, Spain             communal       area    of    Paulshoek,
Ofer Dahan - Ben Gurion University,         Namaqualand. Timm Hoffman, Nicky
Israel.                                     Allsopp, Moon Arthur, Vonkie Claassen,
Yehouda Enzel - Hebrew University of        Sampie Cloete, Mariana Lot, BIOTA staff
Jerusalem.                                  and colleagues
Dr James Gambiza – Rhodes University
Prof Norbert Juergens – BIOTA               This project has been running since 1996
Christoph Kuells - HYDROISOTP gmbh,         and has formed an important focus for a
Germany.                                    number of research initiatives in the
Guido Langenhove - Ministry of              region. Several long-term data sets are
Agriculture, Water & Rural Development      maintained including data on climate, crop
(MAWRD), Namibia                            production, livestock production, plant
Harry May - Surplus People Project, SA.     phenology and vegetation change in
MAZDA Wildlife Vehicle Fund                 permanent plots. The village commons is
                                            also where BIOTA has two of their long-

                                                Plant Conservation Unit: Annual Report 2007

term observatories and has trained Mariana        proven useful for the many visiting
Lots as a para-ecologist and research             researchers.
assistant     for     visiting  researchers.
Collaboration with several local and              Source of funding:       Mainly    BIOTA-
international     institutions  has     been      Southern Africa.
facilitated by this long-term focus and a
long list of PhD, MSc and BSc (Honours)
theses have been produced from research           (b) Paulshoek Plants: A concise reference
carried out at this site. The ongoing data        guide comprised of selected species
collection activities provide an important        profiles.
set of background information for new             Moon Arthur and Timm Hoffman
projects in the village and regular visits to
the area maintain contact and legitimacy in       The aim of this project has been to gather,
the village.                                      organize, summarize and compose
                                                  information about the most common plant
                                                  species in the Paulshoek region of
                                                  Namaqualand, and to synthesize this
                                                  knowledge into succinct plant profiles. In
                                                  so doing, disparate bodies of information
                                                  have been integrated into a more readily
                                                  accessible format that can be easily

                                                  Resources used include interviews
                                                  undertaken with the inhabitants of
                                                  Paulshoek (by Bebis Cloete), as well as a
                                                  few traditional healers and herbalists. This
Namaqualand       experienced       another
                                                  local botanical knowledge includes
bumper year with rainfall nearly 50%
                                                  common names, medicinal and spiritual
more than the long-term average.
                                                  uses, anecdotes, agricultural importance
Colourful annual displays resulted.
                                                  and domestic use of plants in the area, both
                                                  historically and in the present day.
The long-term data sets were maintained in
2007. In addition, the 16, 5x5 m plots at a
                                                  This indigenous knowledge has been
newly-erected exclosure near Kuile were
                                                  combined with long term research in the
sampled for the first time after their
                                                  Paulshoek region, as well as botanical
establishment in 2006. This experiment
                                                  information from the internet, library,
tests    the    hypothesis     that    rocky
                                                  theses, academic articles and the BOLUS
environments recover more quickly when
                                                  herbarium. Each plant profile includes
rested from grazing than flat, sandy
                                                  etymology of the species name, common
environments. Simon Todd’s re-survey of
                                                  names, description and ecology, uses and
his 1996 fence-line contrast study was
                                                  importance (focusing on Paulshoek, but
analysed and prepared for publication.
                                                  also including interesting information from
Finally, the only new initiative at
                                                  elsewhere in Southern Africa), distribution,
Paulshoek in 2007 was the involvement of
                                                  references and a growth calendar. The
the PCU in the tourism initiatives in the
                                                  growth calendars are compiled from long
village. Mr Claasen manages the guest
                                                  term phenology data in the region which
house which recorded 275 bed nights and a
                                                  has been collected since 1999. In addition,
gross income of over R12,000 since March
                                                  botanical photographs taken in Paulshoek
2007. Most of this income has been spent
                                                  over a number of years have been arranged
on service-related items but the facility has

                                                 Plant Conservation Unit: Annual Report 2007

and categorized by Family and Genus for            births and slaughter of livestock. Long
easy viewing and reference.                        term datasets have been updated and
                                                   analyzed to reveal general trends of
Future work on the project will see the            livestock production in this area.
species profiles arranged for print, one
double page spread each, with photographs          Preliminary results indicate that the
highlighting characteristics for easy              livestock production system is highly
identification (i.e the plant in habitat, with     dependent on rainfall. Livestock numbers
and without leaves, close-ups of flowers           decline significantly during drought years
and fruit). These profiles can be used by          and recover rapidly during good rainfall
students working in the Paulshoek region           years. There were no significant
as a quick identification or reference guide.      differences between the recovery of small
With the addition of an introduction               versus large herds. This is a direct result of
describing the region and its people, as           farmer’s strategy to enter drought periods
well as a profile on each of the                   with more animals ensuring a higher
herbalists/healers involved, the work could        survival rate for the next season. This
be published as a field guide for public           allows farmers an increase in their income
use.                                               during wet years thereby withstanding the
                                                   loss incurred during drought periods.
Source of funding: mainly BIOTA-                   Market sales clearly indicated this
southern Africa and the Mazda Wildlife             phenomenon.       For example the good
Vehicle Fund.                                      rainfall year for 2006, yielded a total
                                                   income of R206 000 for Paulshoek village
                                                   which is a significant part of the total
(c) Livestock production in Paulshoek              village income. This strategy also enables
village, a semi-arid communal rangeland            farmers to continue farming with more
of Namaqualand. Ms Marla Naidoo – PhD              robust animals that could withstand benign
student. Expected submission date – Sep            climatic conditions and increase herd size
2008. Supervisors: Timm Hoffman &                  in wetter years.
Nicky Allsopp

The objectives of this project are:
• To investigate key              production
   indicators (e.g. birth rates, mortality,
   herd size, off take, slaughter and
   weight gains) of all the herds in
• To understand the dynamics and
   manipulation of livestock populations
   using long term data sets;
• To determine the effect of climate               Multiple benefits of livestock farming in
   variability on stocking rate and herd           Namaqualand
• To integrate the socio-economic                  The weight gain of animals is highly
   dimension of livestock farming on the           correlated with rainfall patterns. Animal
   commons into this study.                        productivity increases during the winter
                                                   months and declines during the dry period.
Data collection continued in 2007 to               This variation within the year influences
strengthen the existing database on                compensatory growth and influences
monthly weight gains, mortality, sales,            survival rate during the dry period.

                                               Plant Conservation Unit: Annual Report 2007

Livestock production on the commons is           useful, where cover, biomass and
regulated by complex modes of social,            vegetation types were successfully mapped
political and economic factors thus              across the broader region.         However,
cushioning the effect of job insecurity and      grazing impacts readily evident in field-
unemployment.                                    based studies could not be detected using
                                                 the remote sensing techniques used here.
Further analysis of the production data will     This is attributed to the scale of the
be conducted to construct a typology of          Landsat 7 images used. An examination of
livestock owners and changes in herd             the value of a plant functional type
composition and production by integrating        approach in exploring grazing impacts did
long term data sets. A draft of PhD thesis       not add significant value beyond that
will be completed by September 2008.             already obtained in the basic growth form
                                                 analysis carried out earlier in this project.
Source of funding:        BIOTA-Southern         The approach adopted, which followed
Africa and PCU                                   current suggested trends in the literature,
                                                 gave rise to somewhat ‘fuzzy’ plant
(d) The impacts of sustained heavy grazing       functional type groupings, and highlighted
on plant communities across the                  some of the potential difficulties in
Kamiesberg mountain range in the                 pursuing a universal approach to this type
Succulent Karoo, South Africa. Pippin            of vegetation analysis. However, this
Anderson – PhD student.          Expected        study did reaffirm the findings that the
submission date – February 2008.                 sustained heavy grazing associated with
Supervisor: Timm Hoffman.                        the Leliefontein communal area gives rise
                                                 to plant communities dominated by more
The main objectives of this project are to       ephemeral species at the expense of
present a detailed gradient analysis of the      longer-lived woody perennials.
greater Kamiesberg area, and within this
context to examine the impacts of heavy          Most of the thesis has been completed and
grazing on plant diversity, plant functional     one of the chapters already published. The
traits, distributions and biomass across         final document will be submitted for
fence-line contrast sites in and around the      examination early in 2008.
broader Leliefontein communal area.

The gradient analysis showed that climate,
in particular seasonal temperatures and
rainfall, in combination with a distinct
gradient of soil texture and chemistry,
gives rise to the heterogeneous landscape
and in turn drives the diversity of the
Kamiesberg. On this basis three broad
ecoregions were described: a western
aspect, upper region and eastern aspect.
An examination of habitats showed that
upland and lowland habitats are in some
respects continuous across the range, and        Pippin    Anderson     collecting    plant
in others adopt the unique aspects of the        composition and cover data in the
vegetation types in question.          An        Heuweltjieveld on the western slopes of the
examination of the potential to use remote       Kamiesberg.
sensing techniques to map these vegetation
patterns across the Kamiesberg proved

                                              Plant Conservation Unit: Annual Report 2007

(e) The influence of landuse and climate on     along the ecotone, and to determine how
vegetation at the ecotone between the           this vegetation has changed over the past
Nama-karoo and the Succulent karoo              20 years.
biomes.      Ndafuda Shiponeni – PhD
student.     Graduated December 2007.           Along the gradients of grass and succulent
Supervisors: Nicky Allsopp, Peter Carrick       shrub         communities,      multivariate
& Timm Hoffman.                                 ordination and statistical techniques have
                                                revealed that variation in the underlying
This completed thesis is comprised of a         physical and chemical soil properties
series of ecological investigations of          explained less than 15% of the variation in
vegetation at an ecotone between the            vegetation patterns and thus contributes
Namaqualand          shrublands     and         little to the observed vegetation patterns at
Bushmanland arid grasslands at the              the ecotone. Similarly, a reciprocal
climatic    transition    between    the        seedling transplant experiment in these
predominantly winter rainfall Succulent         communities did not result in significant
Karoo and the predominantly summer              influence of soil on the establishment of
rainfall Nama-Karoo biomes.                     seedlings, especially for a leaf succulent
                                                shrub Ruschia robusta which was
                                                monitored for the duration of the
                                                experiment. The same experiment revealed
                                                the importance of root competition from
                                                the established grass vegetation in
                                                preventing the establishment of R. robusta
                                                seedlings in grass communities. Evidences
                                                of competitive relationships were also
                                                found between the grass Stipagrostis
                                                brevifolia and the shrub R. robusta, the
                                                two abundant species in communities
                                                where the two growth forms co-occur, as
                                                inferred from the nearest-neighbour
Ndafuda Shiponeni checking on the               analysis technique. The pattern from these
survival of seedlings in her caged              studies is that the vegetation pattern at the
experiment near Platbakkies.                    ecotone is not due to soil preferences, but
                                                plant interactions play a significant role.
The work focused on the determinants of         Furthermore, S. brevifolia had stronger
grass and succulent shrub vegetation            competitive effects on R. robusta than vice
characterising the ecotone, and on              versa, as inferred from the nearest-
determining the current and past                neighbour analysis in communities where
distribution of this vegetation. A              they co-occurred. Root excavations of the
combination of detailed community level         rooting systems of the respective species
investigations (both observational and          revealed that grass has a deeper root
experimental), and a variety of remotely        system in relation to shallow root system
sensed data and techniques were applied to      characterising the leaf succulent shrub
capture processes and patterns at different     species. This differentiation was used to
scales. In the first set of investigations,     explain the co-existence between the two
Ndafuda investigated the role of soil and       growth forms, but the partial overlap in the
competition on vegetation patterns.             root systems between S. brevifolia and R.
Secondly, field data were combined with         robusta allowed for the observed
remote sensing technology to establish the      competitive relationships.
current distribution of grasses and shrubs

                                                Plant Conservation Unit: Annual Report 2007

With the use of field data and the recent         Supervisors: Timm Hoffman and Nicky
ASTER satellite data, a detailed vegetation       Allsopp
map depicting the spatial distribution of
grass and shrubs at the ecotone was               The primary aims of this study are:
produced. The strength in the map lies in
the mapping of grass vegetation patches           •   To map all land uses in the Leliefontein
embedded in the matrix of Namaqualand                 communal area;
shrublands in the western part of the study
area, which have not been mapped before,          •   To understand and map historical and
and the high classification accuracy at               current grazing patterns of livestock
which the map was produced. The                       around villages in the study area;
established spectral characteristics of grass
and shrub vegetation were used in an              •   To determine the grazing density of
image      differencing    change-detection           livestock within the rangeland ;
technique, using multi-temporal Landsat
data, to derive spectral changes reflecting       •   To determine the impacts of livestock
vegetation shifts over the past 20 years. A           around water points
change-detection method was also applied
on the same multi-temporal Landsat data           To date the location of all the stockposts
to derive spectral changes reflecting             and water points in the Leliefontein
changes in vegetation cover. According to         communal area have been mapped using a
the analysis, most of the detected areas of       GPS. Interviews were conducted with
change were characterised by fluctuations         livestock owners to obtain the history of
in the direction of vegetation change,            stockpost and water point usage. The
indicating that the vegetation has been           impact of livestock around water points
relatively stable over the period of 20           were determined through line-intersect
years, and only a small area showed signs         transects.
of directional vegetation change. Where
directional change was detected, it was           Results indicate that approximately 600
related either to a decrease in general           stockposts were used by 280 farmers in the
vegetation cover or to an increase in grass       last ten years. Almost 2 000 stockpost
cover.                                            movements occurred between 1997 and
Evidence of increasing grassiness, together       2006 whereas 63 herds never moved
with the observed strong competitive              during those 10 years in the study area.
effects on the succulent shrubs by the grass      About 170 water points were used by the
is of significance to ecotone dynamics, and       herds.
may have influenced the perception that
there has been a decrease in winter rainfall      Stockpost movements do not vary
in the region.                                    significantly over years. Movements occur
                                                  mostly during May/June when croplands
Source    of   funding:   BIOTA-Southern          are ploughed and seeds sown, and
Africa.                                           September/October after harvesting. Cold
                                                  temperatures also result in numerous
(f) Mobility in a variable environment:           movements since livestock keepers want to
Assessing communal livestock grazing              avoid below freezing conditions. The lack
patterns in a semi-arid desert in South           of water and emigration of some farmers
Africa. Mr Igshaan Samuels – ARC and              onto the new land reform farms resulted in
PhD student. Expected submission date:            other farmers not rotating their stockposts.
December 2009.                                    Grazing is concentrated around water
                                                  points and ephemeral rivers during

                                               Plant Conservation Unit: Annual Report 2007

summer whereas lowlands areas are more           very fortunate as the occurrence of such
used during winter due to ephemeral              floods is highly unpredictable. These
abundance.                                       flood events have provided crucial
                                                 information on the functioning of the
                                                 alluvial aquifer in the Buffels River. The
                                                 results indicate that the alluvial aquifer is
                                                 not continuous, but rather consists of a
                                                 number of segments each largely isolated
                                                 from one another in terms of sub-surface
                                                 flow. This appears to have important
                                                 implications for the woody vegetation,
                                                 which becomes dense at the tail-end of
                                                 these segments where sub-surface rock
                                                 barriers force the groundwater close to the
Herds in Leliefontein are allowed to graze
crop residues after harvesting in

Preliminary results show that there is no
linear increase in vegetation cover away
from water points and different patterns in
cover are display around different water
points. Unpalatable shrubs and annuals
increase towards water points.

(g) Floodwater Recharge of Alluvial              Silt carried by floodwater collecting
Aquifers in Dryland Environments                 around Acacia karoo clumps in the Buffels
(WADE). Mr Simon Todd – Contracted               River. Such vegetated islands trap silt
researcher.                                      during each flood event, expanding and
                                                 eventually coalescing with other islands,
The WADE project aims to assess long-            ultimately changing the course of the river.
term (decades to centuries) water resources
in selected semiarid to hyperarid                Apart from providing moisture to sustain
ephemeral river basins by determining            riparian vegetation, floods play an
long-term transmission losses from floods        important role in structuring the riparian
and quantifying floodwater recharge into         vegetation of the Buffels River. Floods
alluvial aquifers. Since riparian vegetation     create a physical disturbance which
plays an important role in the dynamics of       prevents perennial plants from establishing
alluvial aquifers in semi-arid regions, a        in the active channel of the river. Floods
goal of the project is to map the vegetation     also function to transport sediments which
of the study reaches and also to try to          are sorted according to grain size by flow
understand the factors that control the          patterns, creating a range of characteristic
distribution and composition of the              combinations of soil texture and moisture
riparian vegetation.                             conditions. These different environments
                                                 create a physical template which controls
Several flood events have taken place            the distribution of the different plant
during each of the past three years the          communities. The WADE project ended
WADE project has been running, which is          in 2007 and the final data analysis and

                                               Plant Conservation Unit: Annual Report 2007

write up of the various studies that have        Buffelsrivier.       On researching the
been conducted is underway.                      environmental history of the area, in
                                                 particular how residents have engaged with
Source of funding: EU-Project: WADE.             the river in the past, the question arose as
                                                 to why these gardens are no longer in use.
(h) An historical socio-economic analysis        At present the only garden of any
of the sustainability of the Bufflesrivier       significant size in the river bed is a largely
Community Gardens.          Penny Price,         dysfunctional community garden initiative.
Dafarey Waldeck, Anamarie Boyce, Rick            On further research it was established that
Rohde                                            this garden has been in existence since
                                                 1994, has received generous funding and
A principal goal of WADE is to is to             training from numerous sources throughout
provide practical solutions for improved         this period as well as organisational
integrated water resource management.            support and other donations. Compared to
Furthermore, to optimise the impact of the       other garden initiatives in the area (e.g.
WADE         project,    a    socio-economic     around Springbok), this garden has
component was introduced to identify the         everything going for it in as far as it has
current and historical use of alluvial           access to ample good quality water, has
aquifer groundwater within the local             use of vast tracts of easily tillable sandy
communities and to understand the                soil in the river bed, has access to a secure
relationships between water resources,           market in the nearby mining town of
climatic variability and development. In         Kleinsee for their produce and,
order to provide a link between the              uncharacteristically for Namaqualand, is
community and the researchers as well as         linked to the major centre of Springbok via
to assist in data collection, two community      a tarred road. However, the garden not
research assistants were employed in the         only fails to address its key functions of
two villages adjacent to the monitoring          generating employment, developing small-
station sites on the Buffels River. One of       scale agricultural business, increasing
the outcomes of this part of the research is     nutrition in the village or addressing food
a focus on the community garden in the           security, but remains a source of conflict
village of Buffelsrivier.                        within the community. It is argued that the
                                                 major contributing factor to this
                                                 dysfunction of what has the potential to be
                                                 a jewel in the social and physical
                                                 landscape of Namaqualand, are historical
                                                 conflicts within the larger community of
                                                 Komaggas, which permeate into the
                                                 political, religious and social realms of the
                                                 area today.       Other contributing factors
                                                 include the role of social dynamics such as
                                                 the presence of dominant families, low
                                                 levels of trust, sense of entitlement, group
                                                 identity, varied and non-aligned agendas,
Penny      Price     interviewing   garden
                                                 and so on. Also, problems associated with
participants in research related to present
                                                 external interventions such as an externally
day community water use patterns in the
                                                 imposed development agendas, common-
village of Bufflesrivier, 2007.
                                                 pool resource management, external
                                                 measure of success, are also important.
Evidence of remnants of numerous well
                                                 The lack of an explicit small business
established gardens are seen in the river
                                                 development model with the attendant lack
bed of the Buffels River at the village of

                                                Plant Conservation Unit: Annual Report 2007

of an overall vision or goal has also             The 1,200 ha Bellair Dam floodplain and
hampered these initiatives. Finally, the          its tributaries functions as the core habitat
lack of continuity due to changing donors         for the nine elephant. It was found that
and their associated funding criteria as well     there is a significant difference in core
as constantly changing participants have          areas between winter and summer. In the
also had a negative influence. Funding for        summer they prefer an area of 2,000 ha
the WADE project came to an end in 2007.          around the Bellair Dam, whereas the core
All that remains is for the analysis to be        area for winter covers about 3400 ha and
written up and published.                         extends along the Kalkoens River towards
                                                  the South West. Habitat preference studies
Source of funding: EU-Project: WADE.              show that very little time is spent outside
                                                  of the riverine areas.
(i) The impact of elephants on trees in the
Little Karoo. Mr Ryno Erasmus – MSc               A distinct difference in utilisation
student (part-time). Expected submission          distribution can be seen for winter and
date – February 2008. Supervisor: Timm            summer months. During summer months
Hoffman                                           more time is spent in randteveld, apronveld
                                                  and drainage systems and in winter more
This project builds on the mini-thesis of         time is spent in randteveld, drainage areas
Andre Mader who graduated from UCT in             and succulent Karoo.
June 2005 with an MSc in Conservation
Biology. The main aim of the project is to        Diet selection studies have shown that
assess the impact of elephants on the             >50% of their diet is comprised of
vegetation of the 54,000 ha Sanbona               Cynodon dactylon, Atriplex semibaccata
Wildlife Reserve and particularly on the          and Tamarix usneoides – all species which
tree species in the area. This follows a          are arguably not indigenous to the area.
request from CapeNature to monitor the            The evidence also indicates that males
impact of elephant and other large                have a higher affinity for Phragmites
herbivores on the vegetation and landscape        australis whereas females show a higher
of the reserve. Field observations suggest        affinity for Acacia karoo and Atriplex
that trips to the eastern part of the reserve     semibaccata.
have declined significantly.        This has
resulted in very little or no visits to trees
that were impacted upon in the first year of      Source of funding: SANBONA Wildlife
release.                                          Reserve and SKEP small grant.

                                                  (j) Land degradation in the Little Karoo.
                                                  Mr Ndumiso Nongwe – MSc student (part-
                                                  time). Expected submission date – Jan
                                                  2008. Supervisor: Timm Hoffman.

                                                  The main aim of the Little Karoo study is
                                                  to assess the extent of habitat
                                                  transformation and degradation in the
                                                  region. This was carried out by quantifying
                                                  the extent of land transformation and
One of the nine elephants at Sanbona
                                                  degradation in the major biomes, habitats
Wildlife Reserve feeding an Acacia karroo.
                                                  and vegetation units of the Little Karoo.
                                                  Evidence gathered from this study shows

                                               Plant Conservation Unit: Annual Report 2007

that 68% of the Little Karoo region is           the influences of sustainable management
degraded to some extent. Whilst studies          of municipal commonage so as to enhance
done in the past have acknowledged visible       their potential for poverty alleviation. This
vegetation changes, the extent of                is important as current government policies
environmental degradation seems to have          emphasise the use of commonage for
been underestimated.                             improving the livelihoods of poor urban
                                                 residents, for local economic development,
The status of major ecosystems in the            and for the development of commercial
Little Karoo was for the first time,             black farmers.
determined based on both transformation
and degradation. 7.5% of the total area in       Aspects being examined are: the
the Little Karoo is shown to be critically       contribution of municipal commonage to
endangered, a new finding when compared          local livelihoods (Rhodes University);
with similar studies done before in the area     access, governance and management of
such as National Spatial Biodiversity            municipal       commonage         (Rhodes
Assessment (NSBA, 2004), CAPE, STEP              University); and changes in land use and
and SKEP.                                        cover of municipal commonage using
                                                 remote sensing technology (University of
                                                 Fort Hare). This project makes up the
                                                 fourth component being investigated and is
                                                 examining the ecological condition of
                                                 selected municipal commonages in a post-
                                                 land reform environment.

Ecosystem status of the Little Karoo based
on the quantification of the extent of
transformation and degradation

An analysis of long-term quantitative
climate and agricultural census records
does not show wholesale decline in rainfall
over years covered by the study. It is           A fenceline contrast between municipal
therefore concluded that land use,               commonage and a commercial farm in the
especially livestock production, is a major      Grahamstown area, Eastern Cape.
cause of habitat degradation in the region.
                                                 Key objectives are to determine what
(k) Land degradation of municipal                resources are currently available in
commonages:       do      they    contribute     selected       municipal        commonages
sustainably to the livelihoods of the urban      (vegetation     mapping      and    land-use
poor? Mr James Puttick – MSc student.            classification) and then to assess current
Expected submission date Febraury 2008.          ecological condition and how this may
Supervisors: Timm Hoffman and James              have changed over time. Methods include
Gambiza.                                         the use of aerial and historical photographs
                                                 to map vegetation and examine change
This project is a component of a wider           over time, while “benchmark” sites,
collaborative research project to determine      fenceline contrasts and piosphere studies
                                                 are being used to determine rangeland

                                               Plant Conservation Unit: Annual Report 2007

condition. The majority of rangeland             remote sensing techniques such as satellite
condition assessment techniques have been        derived spectral indices from MODIS (e.g.
developed with the objectives of                 Normalised Difference Vegetation Index)
commercial farming in mind, yet it is            in quantifying and monitoring dryland
recognised that the objectives of local          degradation problems in combination with
commonage users are quite different to           expert knowledge. This will assist in better
those of commercial farmers. Another key         understanding the rate and spatial
objective is therefore to investigate the        dimensions of habitat degradation.
perceptions of local users as to the             Although the limiting and constraining
condition of municipal commonages.               factors, are mainly related to definitional,
                                                 technological,     methodological       and
At present, work is being carried out on the     capacity.
Grahamstown municipal commonage and
will be finished by the end of February          A key aspect of this project is to determine
2008 as part of James Puttick’s                  whether the methodology developed by
conservation biology masters thesis.             Thompson et al. (2005) in the Little Karoo
Thereafter, the remainder of the study will      can be successfully adapted and applied in
be     conducted     on    the    municipal      other arid subregions. To start with, the
commonages of Bathurst and Fort Beaufort         method will be applied to the
in the Eastern Cape.                             Bushmanland Arid Grassland within the
                                                 Namaqualand        region.    A      detailed
Source of funding: SANPAD (South                 degradation model, based on phenometric
Africa-Netherlands Research Programme            parameters will also be developed and
on Alternatives in Development)                  interpreted through an understanding of
                                                 historical land tenures. This will result in
                                                 developing of an appropriate technique for
                                                 mapping degradation at the landscape
(l) Mapping habitat degradation at               scale, and a reliable degradation map for
landscape scale using remote sensing and         the rest of the Succulent Karoo in South
expert knowledge in Namaqualand, South           Africa. Successful mapping of land
Africa. Thuli Wistebaar – MSc student.           degradation in the area will provide key
Supervisors: Mathieu Rouget, Timm                dataset for the 2010 National Spatial
Hoffman, Phil Desmet, Mark Thompson.             Biodiversity Assessment project, fine-scale
Other partners include Zuziwe Jonas              conservation planning projects in the areas
(SANBI), Melanie Vogel (CSIR).                   concerned, and a range of other users. This
                                                 will lead to a PhD continuation, where
The main aim of this project is to find          methods developed and used in this project
repeatable methods for quantifying and           will be tested across Namaqualand.
mapping habitat degradation of natural
habitats in the semi-arid regions of South       The expected results from the analysis are
Africa. The rate of natural habitat loss has     firstly, that the amplitude for the
increased significantly due primarily to         Bushmanland Arid Grassland system will
land use pressures. This continual loss has      vary from that of the Succulent Karoo. We
prompted the initiation of research to           expect the NDVI amplitude in the
mitigate the current rate of habitat             degraded and natural state to be lower in
degradation. However, due to the                 the Bushmanland as compared to the
dynamics of the habitat degradation              Succulent Karoo because of the generally
phenomena various methods have been              lower productivity experienced in the low
adapted to resolve the challenges. One of        rainfall, Stipagrostis grass-dominated
methods is the utilization of satellite          Bushmanland region. Because of the

                                                Plant Conservation Unit: Annual Report 2007

resilience of Stipagrostis grasslands to          proposal will provide funding for the
heavy grazing, we would expect the that in        period 2007-2009.
good rainfall even the degraded areas in
this system might respond well therefore
the variation might not be as clear as in the     Landscape            history           and
Succulent Karoo system which is                   palaeoecology
dominated by both the perennial and
annual species. Because of the variability        Programme Leader and Research Team
in the timing of rainfall the length of           Prof Timm Hoffman (Programme Co-
growing season in Bushmanland for both            Leader)
the degraded and natural states might not         Dr Lindsey Gillson (Programme Co-
be as informative as it would have been in        leader)
a system with both perennials and annuals.        Ms Fiona Ballantyne - PCU
Perhaps the summed NDVI net primary               Ms Lauren Davids - PCU
production (NPP)         will    be     more      Ms Daniela Bonora - PCU
informative, such that in the degraded state      Mr John Duncan – PCU
the NPP is expected to be lower that that in      Ms Lynne Quick – EGS/PCU
the natural state.     Finally, using this        Mr Ben Wigley – PCU/UCT
approach the extent of land degradation in        Ms Elsabé Swart – PCU/Northern Cape
communal, new land reform farms and               Dept. of Tourism, Environment &
private farms will be compared.                   Conservation
Source of Funding: BIOTA – Southern               Research Partners
Africa, SANBI                                     Prof Norbert Juergens - University of
                                                  Hamburg & BIOTA
                                                  Dr Rick Rohde – Centre for African
Future directions                                 Studies, University of Edinburgh
The long-term data sets that have been            Dr Ed February – UCT
established in Paulshoek in this                  Prof Mike Meadows – EGS/UCT
programme will be maintained and all the          Dr Brian Chase – Oxford University
projects listed above will continue in 2008.      Centre for the Environment, School of
The projects within this programme are all        Geography, University of Oxford &
reasonably well-funded and produce a              EGS/UCT
steady stream of both students and                MAZDA Wildlife Vehicle Fund
publications.     It remains one of the           Rufford Foundation
cornerstones of the PCU’s strategic plan
for the period 2007-2011.                         Overview
                                                  This programme examines the extent and
Resources and funding                             direction of change in southern African
Significant funding from BIOTA will               landscapes primarily over timescales of
continue to support activities within this        hundreds to thousands of years. A range
programme for the period 2007-2009.               of tools, including archival records,
WADE funding ended in July 2007 and               traveller’s diaries, early photographs and
this project has been terminated. Research        survey data, as well as palaeoecological
activities at Sanbona are financed through        techniques like fossil pollen, charcoal and
the private parent company managing the           stable isotope analyses, are used to explore
reserve as well as through a small grant          the composition, diversity, dynamics and
from SKEP paid directly to the Sanbona            functioning of historical landscapes. Our
Wildlife Reserve. This project will come          projects include work in the succulent
to an end in 2008 The joint SANPAD                karoo, fynbos, savanna and grassland

                                               Plant Conservation Unit: Annual Report 2007

biomes, in central, eastern and southern         decades has seen a significant decline in
Africa.                                          the agricultural use of the land.

Our combination of techniques provides a
powerful, multi-proxy approach to
landscape reconstruction, enabling the
interactions between different drivers of
vegetation change to be examined.
Hypotheses about climate change are
tested in this programme which extends the
monitoring time frame for key organisms
(particularly Tree Aloes and Cedars) and
ecosystems. We also examine the role of
anthropogenic management, fire and
herbivory in long-term vegetation change.
Our approach enables us to compare
landscape change at a range of spatial and
temporal scales, providing a context for
interpreting today’s dynamic landscapes.

We contextualise our results in both
applied and theoretical contexts. We
contribute to debates over rangeland and
savanna management by exploring the
management implications of our work.             There is little evidence of large change in
We develop models which allow the                the Buffelsriver since John Acocks took the
outcomes of different management                 above photograph in 1957.
scenarios to be explored. We also utilise
emerging conceptual frameworks from the          While the low-lying bottom lands continue
academic literature and contribute to            to be the most heavily exploited, increased
theoretical advances on non-equilibrium,         urbanisation in the region has drawn a
resilience and ecological thresholds.            large number of people off the land,
                                                 particularly in the last few decades. The
Projects                                         strong environmental history and repeat
(a)    Global change and human impacts           photography approach undertaken in this
on the biodiversity of Namaqualand.              analysis suggests that Namaqualand’s
Timm Hoffman and Rick Rohde.                     landscapes are similar to what they have
                                                 looked like in the last 100 years. If
This project is concerned with the               anything, there is more vegetation cover
changing impact of people and climate on         today than there was 50 years ago and
Namaqualand’s landscapes.         Historical     there is little evidence of widespread
trends in rainfall over the last 100 years       desertification in the region. Land use
have been investigated in the context of         impacts were probably greatest in the first
recent interpolation studies carried out by      half of the 20th century and have declined
colleagues at UCT. A strong emphasis is          in the last 50 years. The key findings of
on the historical impact of human society        this work have been published in the
in the region from pre-colonial to recent        Journal of Arid Environments 2007
times. Changes in the area cultivated and a      Special Issue on Namaqualand.           The
reduction in stocking rate for communal          broader analysis needs to be written up and
and private land suggests that the last two      a book is being contemplated. Additional

                                                Plant Conservation Unit: Annual Report 2007

findings from southern Namibia based on           Supervisors: Timm Hoffman & Terry
the repeat photographic analysis of Coates        Hedderson.
Palgrave’s photographs taken in 1876 also
need to be published.                             The Aloe pillansii project aims at obtaining
                                                  supportive ecological information to
Source    of   funding:   BIOTA-Southern          enable the future conservation of this
Africa                                            flagship species within its natural habitat.
                                                  In arid systems, moisture and regeneration
                                                  mechanisms are key factors determining
(b) The development of an easily-                 the future persistence of plants. It is
accessible database of archival landscape         therefore important to understand the
photographs for the detection and                 habitat needs and regeneration mechanisms
monitoring of environmental change in             of A. pillansii to enable conservationists to
southern Africa.     Timm Hoffman &               conserve the species, as well as predict
Lauren Davids.                                    possible responses towards climate
                                                  changes. Two key aspects which are
One of the most important barriers to the         accordingly investigated are the micro-
use of old photographs for the                    climate of its habitat and its seed viability.
reconstruction of vegetation change is that
the collections are scattered and not easily      Since January 2007 eleven mini-weather
accessible. The main aim of this project,         stations have been erected within the A.
therefore, is to develop an easily-accessible     pillansii distribution range, distributed in a
database of archival landscape photographs        north-south       direction     (longitudinal
of southern Africa and make them                  gradient) ranging from 221 m to 1098 m
available on the Internet. A manual of the        above sea level. Preliminary data indicates
method used when repeating archival               that soil moisture is highest from April to
photographs will also be produced. To             July (16 – 28%), with the highest soil
date, a total of over 4,500 landscape             moisture being recorded at the most
photographs collected from about 40 South         northern distribution range of A. pillansii.
Africa botanists have been scanned. This          The maximum temperatures throughout the
includes the valuable collections of              species’ distribution range are similar (ca.
Acocks, Pole Evans, Dyer and Marloth.             40 0C), but the months within which these
Several additional photographic collections       maximum temperatures are reached, differ.
will also be scanned including Rudolph            The minimum temperatures are around -
Marloth and added to the database. The            0.3 to 6.3 0C, with the coldest site being in
Mountain Club of South Africa has been            the northern parts of its distribution range.
approached and agreement has been                 However, more medium term weather data
reached to scan their uncatalogued                is needed before any conclusive inferences
historical photograph collection.                 can be made from the weather data.

Source of funding: Department of Science          Preliminary growth rate monitoring data
& Technology.                                     obtained from the ‘Creshe’ monitoring site
                                                  reflects that growth rate declines with an
                                                  increase in height (age), i.e. post 1 m
(c) The ecological status of Aloe pillansii       height. On average 0 – 0.5m seedlings
in southern Africa and its role as an             grew 4.1cm, 0.5 - 1m seedlings grew 5.6
indicator of climate change impacts in the        cm, 1-1.5 m juveniles 4.5cm, and 1.5-2 m
region. Elsabe Powell – PhD student.              juveniles 3.5 cm in height during the past
Expected submission date – Jun 2009.              year.

                                              Plant Conservation Unit: Annual Report 2007

                                                assess the impacts of climate change,
                                                poaching and land use on its survival.
                                                Rainer Krug – Post-doc research fellow in
                                                collaboration with Timm Hoffman and
                                                Elsabe Swart.

                                                The project aims to assess the impact of
                                                different threats to the Giant Quiver Tree
                                                (Aloe pillansii), a keystone species
                                                occurring in the Richtersveld and southern
                                                Namibia. This is done using an ecological
                                                simulation model based on field data
Elsabè Swart downloading weather data
                                                collected over a number of years. A basic
from one of the mini-weather stations at
                                                understanding about the events governing
the ‘Five-Sisters’ sub-population in the
                                                the life cycle of the species is essential for
                                                the development of the simulation model.
                                                In addition to growth and survival rates,
Preliminary A. pillansii seed viability
                                                recruitment dynamics are an essential
analysis reflected that (three months since
                                                component. In the case of Aloe pillansii
collection) more than 90% of the seeds
                                                this means reconstructing recruitment
contained embryos, of which 97% were
                                                events which are likely to be separated by
viable and only 86% of those containing
                                                several years.
embryos germinated. However, only about
50% of the seeds collected from Cornell’s
                                                By re-analysing the size data, we were able
Kop germinated. Six months after seed
                                                to include seedling growth data from 2006
collection, no significant difference was
                                                and 2007 in the analysis and therefore
found in the presence of embryos and
                                                obtain new growth distributions for
viability of the seeds, was 52%.
                                                seedlings (smaller then 1m) and adult
                                                individuals (larger then 1m). These growth
Correlations between micro-habitat climate
                                                distributions were used in a novel approach
and the health status of A. pillansii sub-
                                                to determine the age of the individuals and
populations will be determined in 2008.
                                                therefore the recruitment events and
Growth rate data will be included in the
                                                intervals. This approach uses simulation
recruitment model developed by R. Krug
                                                and bootstrapping techniques to obtain
to improve recruitment modeling. This will
                                                information on the variability of the
enable future comparisons with climatic
                                                obtained measures. We determined the
data. Seed dormancy will also be
                                                oldest plants to be more then 300 years
investigated further to improve our
                                                old. Concerning the recruitment events, a
understanding and interpretation of
                                                non-bootstrap analysis showed two main
recruitment events and ex situ germination
                                                germination events, namely 1999 and
data. Dormancy analysis would also give
                                                1863. A further bootstrap analysis revealed
an indication of the survival mechanisms
                                                two more germination events, i.e. 1729 and
of the species to ensure regeneration and
                                                1771. Using the bootstrap approach, we
                                                determined the recruitment intervals for
                                                the population as being between 36 and
Source of funding: Department of Science
                                                148 years, excluding the most extreme
and Technology (DST).
                                                2.5% at each side. Comparing the
                                                recruitment      events      with     those
                                                reconstructed from other population, it was
(d) Modelling population dynamics of the
                                                possible to identify one feature which
Giant Quiver Tree (Aloe pillansii) to

                                               Plant Conservation Unit: Annual Report 2007

separates the Cornell’s Kop population           been disrupted in the recent past.
from the two other populations analysed:         Numerous studies from around the world
both populations had a recruitment event at      have reported an increasing woody
around 1950, or at least a indication of a       component at the expense of the grass
recruitment event. As Cornell’s Kop is the       layer. The causes most frequently cited for
most accessible of the three populations,        this shift are linked to changing land use
this confirms the hypothesis that theft by       practices. This study was therefore set up
succulent collectors, which targets only         to investigate the effects of three
plants of a certain size class, had an           contrasting land use systems on long-term
important impact in shaping the population       vegetation dynamics in a mesic savanna. I
structure at this location. Even though this     aimed to determine if land use practices
finding is quite obvious, it needs to be         alone could account for the changes in
confirmed by a more thorough analysis as         vegetation cover evident at the study sites
other factors, such as climatic differences      between 1937 and 2004. An alternative
between the populations and live stock           explanation for the changes could be
browsing could also have contributed to a        linked to a global driver such as changing
lack of recruitment in the 1950s.                climate or increasing atmospheric CO2
Further steps of the project will be to
correlate the recruitment events with            The rate and extent of vegetation changes
climate change scenarios which will be           were measured and recorded in areas that
challenging as climatic data is not              have      remained    under      communal,
available for the last 300 years. Following      commercial and conservation tenure for
this, estimations of survival, based on long     approximately the past century. Changes in
term photography and analysis of growth          vegetation were determined for a 25 km2
data combined with size structure, will be       area in each area using repeat
used to construct a population model             panchromatic aerial photography from
which includes climatic variability to           1937, 1960 and 2004. Images were
determine the occurrence of recruitment          mosaiced and geo-referenced then overlaid
events and consequently can be used to           and manually classified. A comparison
study the effect of climate change on the        between manual classifications and
population. Furthermore, the model will be       machine-generated classifications using
used to evaluate scenarios including theft       eCognition software was also undertaken.
of juvenile individuals and / or land use        Past land use practices for the three study
changes.                                         areas were reconstructed using a
                                                 combination of archive materials and oral
Source of funding: Department of Science         histories. The managers, land users or
and Technology (DST).                            landowners from areas under communal,
                                                 commercial and conservation tenure were
                                                 extensively interviewed to determine their
(e) Investigating bush encroachment under        perceptions of the changes, consequences
three different land use practices in the        of the changes and reactions to the changes
mesic savannas of South Africa. Mr Ben           in vegetation.
Wigley - MSc student graduated in
December 2007. Supervisors: William              The results showed that significant
Bond and Timm Hoffman                            increases in woody cover occurred during
                                                 the 67-year period at all three sites. The
There is an increasing amount of evidence        communal study site showed the least
suggesting that the balance between trees        increase in tree cover. However, the
and grasses in savannas and grasslands has       overall increase in tree cover at the

                                               Plant Conservation Unit: Annual Report 2007

communal site, from 6.2 to 25.7 %                to be substantially different amongst the
(fourfold increase), is still a highly           different land users.
significant change. The greatest increase in
tree cover was evident at the commercial         The findings suggest that land use
study site where tree cover increased            practices alone cannot explain the
seventeen fold. Total tree cover increased       widespread       occurrence      of    bush
from 2.7 to 50.8 % during the 67-year            encroachment in the area. This could
period. The increase in tree cover at the        suggest that a global driver is contributing
conservation study site was also highly          to the increasing tree component.
significant. Tree cover increased by ~360
%, from 14.7 % in 1937 to 58.5 % in 2004.        Source of funding: Mellon Foundation.
These vegetation changes correspond to
major losses of grassy habitats in each
area. The biodiversity losses associated         (f) An environmental and land use history
with these changes are largely unknown           of the Cederberg Wilderness Area over the
but are likely to be substantial.                last 100 years. Daniela Bonora – MSc
                                                 student. Expected submission – September
                                                 2008. Supervisors: Timm Hoffman, Rick
                                                 Rohde & Ed February.

                                                 The project aims to document the extent
                                                 and rate of vegetation change in the
                                                 Cederberg Wilderness Area over the last
                                                 100 years and to identify the main drivers
                                                 of this change. The relative influence of
                                                 climatic and anthropogenic factors
                                                 (including climate change) will be assessed
                                                 and the implications of these findings for
                                                 conservation management options within
Ben Wigley performing ground truthing            the Cederberg Wilderness Area will be
transects on a commercial farm in the            discussed.
Hluhluwe region KZN.
                                                 The key questions that are asked in this
Past land use practices and histories in         project are:
each area were also shown to be
significantly    different    with    major      •   What has been the extent and rate of
differences in human densities, stocking             vegetation change in the Cederberg
rates, herbivore feeding types and burning           Wilderness Area over the last 100
practices. Long-term rainfall records did            years?
not show any significant changes in the          •   How have the major plant communities
quantity or seasonality of rainfall. The             within the Cederberg changed relative
results suggest that past land use practices         to altitudinal, moisture and disturbance
did have some impact on the type of and              gradients?
extent of bush encroachment. The study           •   What additional information do
found that although the land users were              Indicator species (e.g. the Clanwilliam
aware of and concerned about the changes             cedar or species within the Proteaceae)
in woody cover in each area, they were not           reveal about environmental change
doing much to combat these changes. The              within the Cederberg over the
perceived importance of the different                twentieth century?
causes of woody increase was also found

                                               Plant Conservation Unit: Annual Report 2007

•   What are the fundamental drivers of          and land use change for the future of
    change to this system – climatic (e.g.       biodiversity conservation and management
    temperature, rainfall seasonality and        in the Cederberg Wilderness Area – an
    amount) or anthropogenic (e.g. fire,         area whose “…vegetation is of special
    grazing, cultivation)?                       scientific interest” (Taylor, 1996).
•   What are the implications of these
    findings for future changes and              Three very productive fieldtrips were
    conservation management within the           undertaken in 2007. The first took place in
    Cederberg Wilderness Area?                   February and focused on the general
                                                 landscape changes in the areas around
                                                 Sanddrif, Tafleberg and the Maltese Cross.
                                                 We took repeats of eight sites on this trip, a
                                                 number of which showed some quite
                                                 drastic change in vegetation dynamics and
                                                 structures, with an often noted increase in
                                                 Protea laurifolia populations.

                                                 The second trip took place in August and
                                                 was aimed at investigating changing land
                                                 use practices around the more Southern
                                                 parts of the Cederberg, namely that of the
                                                 Sandfontein valley. On this trip we took
                                                 six repeat photographs in conjunction with
                                                 conducting     four    intensive    farmer
                                                 interviews. This trip revealed some key
                                                 themes to be further investigated and the
                                                 observation of an increase in intensive

                                                 Finally, the third trip of the year saw the
                                                 focus shifting to the exploration of the
Decline in cedar populations on a north-         more Northern reaches of the Cederberg in
facing slope in the Skerpioens Poort             search of the enigmatic Clanwilliam Cedar.
vlaktes, Cederberg Wilderness Area. The          On this trip fifteen repeat photographs
top photograph was taken in 1941 and the         were taken and a number of interesting and
bottom photograph in 2007.                       exciting theories surrounding the decline
                                                 of this species have arisen. It seems that
The technique of repeat photography has          we may have discovered a key period post
been employed in describing the patterns         1940’s, from which time there seems to
of change – both spatial and temporal. The       have been a marked decline in the Cedar
collection of historical photographs taken       population. This is an exciting revelation
by Kenneth Howes-Howell, from the early          as it may help to pinpoint the exact cause
1930’s, is the primary source of reference       of the rapid decline of this endemic species
material. This is a vast collection of           that has been witnessed over the past sixty
photograph’s spanning the majority of the        or seventy years.
Cederberg Wilderness area, which is
accompanied by a detailed index outlining        These three trips have thus clearly outlined
the names of sites and the dates of the          the chapters for the thesis, namely: a
photo’s. The project will attempt to explain     history of landscape change in the
the implications of patterns of vegetation       Cederberg, a history of the Cederberg’s

                                                Plant Conservation Unit: Annual Report 2007

land use change and an analysis of the            The Cederberg is a unique region of the
Clanwilliam     Cedar    (Widdringtonia           south-western Cape, being a species-rich
cedarbergensis) and the reasons for its           part of the Fynbos Biome, as well as
decline.                                          representing a transition area into two
                                                  other biomes viz. the succulent Karoo and
Source of funding: BIOTA – Southern               Nama        Karoo.     Some       previous
Africa.                                           palaeoenvironmental studies have shown
                                                  that relatively stable conditions have
                                                  predominated in this region during the late
(g) Late Quaternary Vegetation History            Quaternary whereas others show greater
and Palaeoenvironments of the Cederberg:          variability during this time period. This
Evidence from Hyrax Middens. Lynne                project will provide new evidence which
Quick – MSc student.            Expected          will hopefully generate greater insight in
submission     –     September     2008.          the nature of environmental change in this
Supervisors: Brian Chase, Mike Meadows            area.
& Timm Hoffman

Researcher (MSc Student):
Lynne    Quick    –    Department     of
Environmental and Geographical Sciences,

Mike      Meadows       –    Department
Environmental and Geographical Sciences,
Brian Chase – Oxford University Centre            Lynne Quick approaching a hyrax midden.
for the Environment, School of
Geography, University of Oxford                   The existence of the threatened endemic
Timm Hoffman – Plant Conservation Unit,           Clanwilliam       Cedar      (Widdringtonia
Botany Department, UCT                            cedarbergensis) is further testament to the
                                                  Cederberg’s uniqueness. It has been
This project uses fossil hyrax (dassie,           suggested that this species was much more
Procavia capensis) middens as a                   common in the past and its decline is
palaeoenvironmental archive to investigate        argued to be a result of anthropogenic
the vegetation dynamics and associated            exploitation coupled with changing
environmental conditions in the Cederberg         climatic conditions. This project aims at
over the late Quaternary period. Pollen           using the fossil pollen extracted from
preserved in these fossilized middens will        middens in the Cederberg not only to
be analysed to determine vegetation               reconstruct the overall vegetation history
community structures and in conjunction           of the area, but to shed further light on the
with radiocarbon dating, a vegetation             history and mechanisms underlying the
history for the study area will be                decline in this endemic tree. The analysis
established. In addition, the application of      of the changes to the population of this
stable carbon and nitrogen isotope                species might be useful as a key indicator
geochemistry to midden material will              of regional environmental change.
provide further insight into the past climate
variability of this region.                       During 2007, suitable hyrax middens in the
                                                  study area have been identified and
                                                  sampled. Two middens have been

                                                Plant Conservation Unit: Annual Report 2007

radiocarbon-dated. The base of the first          history and its impacts on vegetation. Our
midden has been given as 3690 cal yrs BP.         study will be unique in investigating
The middle section of the second midden           changing fire regimes of the area and
has been dated at 13170 cal yrs BP and the        relating it to vegetation composition over
basal date is still being processed. Sub-         the last 500 years. We have identified four
sampling for both pollen analysis and             management phases: 1) Pastoralist 2)
isotope analysis has been carried out. The        Colonial settlement [post 1720] 3)
isotope samples have been prepared for            Resource extraction [c. 1900 – 1973] and
isotope ratio mass spectrometry in the            4) Wilderness [from 1973]. Our project
stable light isotope laboratory in the            will investigate the fire history in each of
Department of Archaeology. The carbon             these management phases, and its effect on
isotope analysis will determine proportions       vegetation, thus providing a context for
of C3 and C4 plants in the study region for       evaluating the effects of current
the temporal scale established through the        management practices.
radiocarbon chronology whereas the
nitrogen isotope results will possibly
identify periods of aridity.

Pollen sample preparation using zinc
chloride heavy liquid separation has been
carried out on the first midden’s samples.
Pollen counts are being generated by the
researcher at this point. By early next year,
all samples will have been processed and
results will then be collated and

Source of Funding: NRF, Plant                     Collecting sediment cores in the
Conservation Unit and Leverhulme Trust.           Cederberg for analysis of fossil pollen and
(h) Palaeoecology and fire hstory in the          We have extracted our sediment cores
Cederberg Wilderness Area.                        from a wetland near De Riff in the
Fiona Ballantyne – MSc student. Expected          Cederberg. The main core, DH5, is 1.6m
submission - June 2008. Supervisors:              long and contains well preserved fossil
Lindsey Gillson and Ed February                   pollen and charcoal. The core sediments
                                                  have been described and their physical
The Cederberg lies 200 km north of Cape           properties examined (organic content and
Town and is part of the Cape Floristic            carbonate content). The middle and the
Region. It is a centre of endemism with           bottom of DH5 were dated using AMS
over 280 unique plant species including the       (Atomic Mass Spectrometry). These were
Clanwilliam         cedar     (Widdringtonia      calibrated and place the first 80cm of the
cedarbergensis). The Cederberg reserve is         core within the time period we wish to
a managed wilderness area and the                 investigate (1450-1630calAD, 95.4%
emphasis is to maintain current                   probability). Charcoal and pollen from 23
biodiversity while maintaining a fire             levels spanning the core have been
regime that is conducive to Fynbos                analysed up to a resolution of at least 400
vegetation; especially the survival of            pollen grains per level. A preliminary
Widdringtonia cedarbergensis. Currently,          pollen diagram for the core shows very
there is little long-term information on fire     promising data. I have been reading

                                                Plant Conservation Unit: Annual Report 2007

historical sources on the area so as to place     drought and human influence have shaped
the study in context and to identify events       the landscape for millennia. Management
to use for relative dating. I visited the         of the Kruger National Park, in South
Cederberg with L.J. Mitchell, a historian         Africa, is based on a heterogeneity
who studied the 18 and 19thC in this area,        paradigm, which acknowledges that
to try to establish when the site was first       savannas are dynamic ecosystems, affected
granted as a loan farm. A photograph in           by many factors and interactions which
the Howes Howell collection (photo 1545)          influence ecosystem pattern and process at
indicates De Riff was inhabited in 1934 by        a range of spatial and temporal scales.
a “bywoner” family who farmed wheat and           Environmental management in Kruger is
livestock.                                        carried out under the adaptive management
                                                  paradigm. This approach raises important
Pollen and charcoal analyses are ongoing          questions     for      management     and
until 100 levels of the core have been            conservation: What determines spatial and
investigated. Further AMS or Lead 210             temporal variation in savanna tree
dating will be used for dating the upper          abundance? Can habitat degradation be
section of the core in key zones of interest.     distinguished from background variability?
This will also allow us to determine an age       What are the critical climatic thresholds
with depth relationship. Reference slides of      and disturbances at which the ecosystems
the species identified in the Howes Howell        of Kruger undergo rapid change? At what
photo will be made to see if we can detect        point should managers intervene?
these in the pollen slides. This can be used
as a form of relative dating and their            Our project utilises palaeoecological
appearance may coincide with other                techniques like fossil pollen, charcoal and
changes in plant composition and charcoal         stable isotope analysis to study vegetation
concentration indicating a shift in               change over time-scales of hundreds to
ecosystem functioning. A synthesis will be        thousands of years. We are studying
made of pollen and charcoal data with an          patterns of variability in savanna
attempt to interpret the changes seen in the      vegetation, and are investigating the role of
fossil record with possible changes in fire       climate, fire and disturbance in ecosystem
regimes, land use and ultimately plant            dynamics. We are working closely with
communities.                                      Scientific Services in the Kruger National
                                                  Park to ensure that our research is relevant
Sources of Funding: The Rufford                   to management objectives. Information on
Foundation and the University of Cape             long-term variability in tree cover will help
Town.                                             ecosystem managers to decide when
                                                  management intervention is necessary. Our
                                                  studies of the relationship between fire and
i) Kruger Environments                            savanna vegetation structure, and the
Project Leader: Dr Lindsey Gillson                influence of historic and recent human
Co-Researcher: Dr Annelia Ekblom                  influences on the savanna landscape are
(University of Oxford)                            also relevant to management practices.
PhD Students: Kristina Duffin and Elinor
Breman (University of Oxford)                     The Kruger Environments project has
                                                  practical applications to ecosystem
New       approaches    to     ecosystem          management, and engages with theoretical
management recognise the dynamic nature           debates over equilibrium and non-
of plant communities. Most ecosystems are         equilibrium     processes    in     ecology,
affected by disturbance, and climate is           ecosystem       dynamics,       disturbance,
constantly changing. Fire, herbivory,             resilience and complexity. It contributes to

                                                Plant Conservation Unit: Annual Report 2007

a more holistic, integrated understanding
of the Kruger Environment, in which               Fossilised spores of Sporomiella, a
ecological knowledge is contextualised            coprophilous fungus that only grows on the
according    to      landscape    history,        dung of herbivores, have been used to infer
conservation objectives, and societal             unknown herbivore abundances or biomass
values.                                           and identify periods of mega-herbivore
                                                  extinction in the palaeo-record. In Africa,
                                                  however, mega-herbivores are still extant
                                                  and there is therefore a unique opportunity
                                                  to calibrate Sporomiella abundance against
                                                  known herbivore biomass. This study was
                                                  carried out within the Hluhluwe-Imfolozi
                                                  Game Reserve, KwaZulu-Natal South
                                                  Africa (28°00’-28°26’S, 31°43’-32°00’E).
                                                  We evaluated the relationship between
                                                  Sporomiella concentration and herbivore
                                                  abundance, as indicated by total dung
                                                  abundances. We investigated three aspects
Results of the Kruger Environments                of this relationship: [1] the relationship
project were presented at meetings in             between Sporomiella abundance and total
South Africa, Sweden and the U.K. in              herbivore dung abundance, [2] the
2007.                                             relationship between Sporomiella and
                                                  individual herbivore species, where we
In 2007, Lindsey Gillson co-authored              also divided all the herbivores into Mega-
papers with Kristina Duffin, Kathy Willis         herbivores and Meso-herbivores to
and Anneli Ekblom, relating changes in            determine      their    relationship   with
tree density over time to management              Sporomiella densities, [3] finally, we
objectives, and ecological drivers like fire,     tested the differences between the regions
climate, nitrogen and anthropogenic               of the reserve by comparing the different
activities. Kristina Duffin submitted her         areas of the park, as each system has its
PhD thesis on landscape change and                own unique drivers (Hluhluwe (fire
palaeo-vegetation modelling in the Kruger         driven), Imfolozi (herbivore driven) and
National Park. Anneli Ekblom worked on            the corridor (fire and herbivore driven) ),
pollen and charcoal records from the              with the concentration of Sporomiella.
Greater Limpopo Park, and the northern
Kruger National Park. Elinor Breman               We found no significant relationships
analysed pollen and charcoal from the             between Sporomiella concentration and
savanna-grassland ecotone.                        total herbivore dung abundances, which
                                                  suggests that the fungus may be selectively
Sources of Funding: The Trapnell Fund,            growing on certain herbivore species rather
The Higgins Trapnell Family Foundatino            than on all herbivore dung and / or the
and the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.              amount of dung for each species is not
                                                  accurately reflected by dung counts
                                                  [because amount of dung per species isn’t
(j) Using Sporomiella to track herbivore          accurately reflected by dung counts?] This
biomass within the Hluhluwe-Umfolozi              isn’t reflected in dung counts]. When the
Game Reserve                                      sites that had zero Sporomiella were
Alicia Thomas BSc Honours student.                excluded from the analysis, Sporomiella
Supervisors: Lindsey Gillson & William            concentration was significantly related to
Bond                                              elephant and white rhino dung abundance,

                                               Plant Conservation Unit: Annual Report 2007

which could be related to site specific          histories were collected from nine sites,
condition. Mega-herbivores and meso-             and fossil pollen and charcoal analysis will
herbivores dung abundance showed no              be completed early in 2008, when a report
significant relationship with Sporomiella        will be submitted to the AHRC. The
concentrations, implying that neither group      outputs from this pilot project will form
is the main contributors to Sporomiella          the basis of a future, interdisciplinary
concentration. There was also no                 research project which will extend the oral
significant difference in Sporomiella            and archival research and expand
concentration between the different areas        palaeoecological research to incorporate
of the park, providing no evidence that          further techniques and a longer time-frame.
spores are differentially distributed            If the written/oral sources and pollen
throughout     the    park.    Sporomiella       derived vegetation histories for the past
concentrations showed no significant             150 years should match closely, this will
difference between the different types of        increase the reliability of the vegetation
vegetation and grasses within the park.          reconstructions     prior   to     historical
This suggests that the spores are not            documentation.
specific to certain vegetation or grass

k) Land Degradation in Central Tanzania
Dr Daniel Brockington, University of
Dr Lindsey Gillson, University of Cape
Professor Kathy Willis, University of
Profesor Pius Yanda, University of Dar Es
                                                 In central Tanzania, palaeoecology and
                                                 oral history are being used to investigate
This research explores environmental
                                                 land degradation over long periods of time
histories in the rangelands of north central
Tanzania. It integrates recent fossil pollen
                                                 Source of Funding: The Arts and
data with new ecological theories to re-
                                                 Humanities Research Council (AHRC),
interprete prevailing understandings of
                                                 United Kingdom
environmental change and recent human
history. Vegetation changes over 200 years
will be investigated using pollen analysis,
                                                 Future directions
and these results will be triangulated with
                                                 Future research will continue to build on
archival and written and oral histories of
                                                 our work in the succulent karoo, fynbos
known environmental perturbations. We
                                                 and savanna biomes.
will develop alternative explanations of
perceived      environmental    degradation
                                                 In the succulent karoo, the repeat
based on current ecological thinking, and
                                                 photography work in Namaqualand is
will integrate methods and theories from
                                                 continuing and is being extended to
the natural sciences in to environmental
                                                 southern Namibia, led by Timm Hoffman
                                                 and Rich Rhode. The development of the
                                                 archival photograph electronic data base
Field work took place in September –
                                                 by Timm Hoffman and Lauren Davids will
October 2006. Sediment cores and oral
                                                 generate much interest in this tool. Two

                                              Plant Conservation Unit: Annual Report 2007

publications emerged in 2007, and another       2008 onwards, which will include isotopic,
three submitted for publication. Rainer         charcoal, spore and fossil pollen analyses.
Krug’s work on Aloe pillansii will also be
submitted for publication in 2008. Sam
Jack has started his MSc on Aloe                Disturbance        and       restoration
dichotoma which will extend our                 ecology
understanding of this species as a
‘fingerprint’ of anthropogenic climate          Programme Leader and Research Team
change.                                         Dr Peter Carrick (NRI Programme Leader)
                                                Ms Susan Botha (NRI Ecological History
In the fynbos biome, the Cederberg              Researcher and Project Liaison)
Wilderness area project is flourishing with     Mr Raldo Kruger (NRI Field Ecology
an     interdisciplinary      team    using     Researcher)
palaeoecological,        historical     and     Prof Sue       Milton (RENU-KAROO
photographic data. Two MSc students             Programme Leader)
(Fiona Ballantyne and Lynne Quick) are          Dr Richard Dean (RENU-KAROO
both active since January 2007 in the           Programme Leader)
Cederberg addressing palaeoecological           Ms Maraai Isaacs (RENU-KAROO
issues of vegetation change over centennial     Nursery assistant)
– millennial time-scales, while Daniela         Ms Mina Jansen ((RENU-KAROO
Bonora’s historical and repeat photography      Nursery assistant)
study explores landscape change over the
past century. Together with Ed February         Programme Partners
from Botany and Mike Meadows, Brian             Principal partners
Chase,      from     Environmental      and     Critical Ecosystem Partnership Fund
Geographical Sciences, an active and            (CEPF)
potentially very productive research            De Beers Namaqualand Mines (NM)
collaboration is emerging.                      Succulent Karoo Ecosystem Programme
In the Savanna biome, work on the               Conservation International (CI)
palaeoecology of the Kruger Park and            Namaqualand Wilderness Initiative (NWI)
surrounding environments continues, led         Department of Agriculture (Western Cape)
by Lindsey Gillson. Kristina Duffin’s PhD       Rufford Small Grants for Conservation
thesis was submitted in 2007, and another       (UK)
by Elinor Breman is due to be submitted in
2008. Anneli Ekblom continues her               Other partners
PostDoctoral research on the Greater            Millenium Seedbank Project (MSB)
Limpopo Park, and will be submitting            Namaqualand Diamond Company
papers comparing the palaeoecology of           NamakwaSands
Kruger and Mozambique in 2008.                  Transhex
                                                Botanical Society of South Africa
An exciting new direction in the savanna        (BotSoc)
biome research is the use of fungal spores      Centre for Sustainability in Mining and
as indicators of past herbivore biomass.        Industry (CSMI)
Alicia Thomas completed an Honours              Department of Minerals & Energy (DME)
dissertation on this topic in Hluhluwe-         Biodiversity Transect Analysis in Africa
iMfolozi reserve. Lindsey Gillson will          (BIOTA)
develop a comprehensive, mulit-proxy            South African National Biodiversity
palaeo-project for Hluhluwe-iMfolozi in         Institute (SANBI)

                                             Plant Conservation Unit: Annual Report 2007

Mr Deon van Eerden - Vula Environmental        sound ecological dynamics for the
Services                                       achievement of near-natural biodiversity
Dr Heidi Hawkins – Botany Department –         restoration, while giving a cross-section of
UCT                                            the regional community a greater role in
Mr Johann Lanz – Independent Soils             restoration, and through active service-
Specialist                                     driven engagement with mining operators,
Mr Jeremy Blood – University of                and other land users, to fundamentally
Stellenbosch                                   change the way they perceive their roles
Prof Sue Milton - Department of                and responsibilities with regard to
Conservation Ecology - Stellenbosch            biodiversity conservation and restoration.”
Dr Richard Dean – Percyfitzpatrick             The NRI is a research, advocacy and
Institute – UCT                                implementation project, led by Dr Peter
Dr Nicky Allsopp - Range and Forage            Carrick and assisted by two senior research
Institute - ARC                                staff, Raldo Kruger and Susan Botha. The
Ms Tessa Hempson – Zoology Department          project started in 2005 and received
– UCT                                          catalyst funding from the Critical
Dr Pat Holmes – Restoration Practitioner -     Ecosystem Partnership Fund, with follow-
Cape Town City Council                         up funding secured by De Beers in 2006.
Dr Mike Picker – Zoology Department –          This provides the project with funding to
UCT                                            the end of 2008 (four years in total). De
Ms Candice Lyons – Zoology Department          Beers - a mining operator - and CEPF - a
– MSc student – co-supervisor: Dr Peter        conservation NGO - now form the
Carrick (PCU student)                          principle partners for the NRI. The NRI
Dudley Wessels, Corneels Links and Neil        has developed good relationships with
McDonald – NM Restoration CC                   many of the mining operators on the west
Mike Powell, Dr Antony Mills and Ayanda        coast, and partner with them on this
Sigwela – Rhodes Rehabilitation Research       project. Although funded primarily by one
Group                                          mine operator, the research products
Prof Richard Cowling – Nelson Mandela          developed by the NRI are available
Metropolitan University and Rhodes             regionally to all of our partners.
Rehabilitation Research Group
Andre Meyer – Ecological Solutions for         Key findings and their relevance
Landscapes & Livelihoods
                                               1. Experimental trials:
                                               1.1 Restoration Packs
Overview                                       In 2006 we conducted a large field
The programme is comprised of two              experiment (in total 1300 plots) where we
projects, the Namaqualand Restoration          developed the use of restoration packs. A
Initiative (NRI) and RENU-Karoo Veld           restoration pack consists of 1, 500 seeds of
Restoration as detailed below.                 a variety of Namaqualand perennial
                                               species planted in a protective casing on
Projects                                       the mined area that has been supplied with
(a) Namaqualand Restoration Initiative         soil supplements. In 2007 we rolled out
    (NRI). Peter Carrick, Raldo Kruger         another large field experiment where we
    and Sue Botha.                             built on the findings from the 2006 field
                                               trial to further refine the restoration pack
The broad NRI objective is “to establish a     methodology.         We      again      used
restoration bench mark, and develop new        approximately 1, 500 seeds of a variety of
and effective regional protocols based on      Namaqualand perennial species (> 15) per

                                                Plant Conservation Unit: Annual Report 2007

restoration pack (total of 1300) across
eight sites that represented a range of soil      We tested the monitoring and evaluation
types typically found in mined areas,             guideline procedure on 22 sites that
including those where topsoil was re-             represented undisturbed, near-pristine
applied, and those where topsoil was              vegetation, well-restored and un-restored
absent (overburden). We also tested the           mined sites. Results from the field
value of supplemental irrigation if the dry       experiment helped to refine our monitoring
periods experienced by seedlings was              and evaluation guidelines.        The end
greater than two weeks. We are still              monitoring and evaluation scoring system
monitoring the experiment and eagerly             was presented to a panel of external natural
waiting to see the results.                       scientists and restoration practitioners to
                                                  obtain critique and input.
1.2 Litter Decomposition
Plant litter decomposition is a key process       2. Creating a new restoration business
in carbon and nutrient cycling. To test           The NRI has founded a new restoration
whether litter decomposition rates and            business, NM Restoration CC, which is
available nutrient rates differ on                fully owned and run by three
overburden, topsoil and undisturbed               Namaqualanders - Neil MacDonald,
vegetation, we planted litter bags (to            Corneels Links and Dudley Wessels. The
determine plant litter decomposition) and         new business will be contracted by De
resin bags (to determine nutrient rates)          Beers Namaqualand Mines to complete
across 20 sites that represent a variety of       restoration work on mined areas around
soil conditions. A known amount of litter         Koingnaas and Kleinzee, using methods
was placed in mesh bags in the soil and left      developed by the NRI, and to the
for a period of time before it was pulled         specifications set by the NRI. The NRI will
out and re-weighed. The amount of litter          also continue to support and advise NM
remaining provides an estimate of litter          Restoration CC during the roll-out of
decomposition activity rates. The last litter     restoration implementation. The joint
and resin bags were removed in the period         opportunity to create employment and
5 to 7 of December 2007 and the results           restore the environment has been seized by
from this experiment will be analyzed             the economic and environmental role that
shortly.                                          NM Restoration CC will fulfil. It is
                                                  envisaged that the business will restore
1.3. Monitoring and evaluation guidelines         more than a 150 hectares annually,
A key concern that emerged from the               replacing mine dumps with the diversity of
interviewing process is the need for              plants that was there before.
monitoring and evaluation guidelines by
which it is possible to determine whether         3. Providing the managers and employees
restoration in a specific area has been           with training in restoration techniques
successful. The aim of this study was to          developed by the NRI
develop quick and easy tools to measure           The NRI team, recently held an intensive
whether a site has been successfully              five day restoration training course in
restored or not. The end-product of the           Namaqualand, to provide training for the
study is the production of a scoring system       new restoration business and people
that managers can use to assess restoration       interested in working for the new business.
success. A field experiment was conducted         Adverts for positions on the restoration
where various vegetation and soil                 course were placed in five towns near the
attributes considered important indicators        Koingnaas mining area (Koiningaas,
for successful restoration were measured to       Kleinzee, Spoegrivier, Soebatsfontein and
develop and refine the scoring system.            Hondeklip Bay). Interested persons had to

                                                 Plant Conservation Unit: Annual Report 2007

complete an application form that provided         which includes protecting them from the
information on past work experience and            wind of Namaqualand, and ameliorating
references.                                        the soil altered by the mining process.
                                                   Forty trainees successfully completed the
                                                   course, 15 of whom have already been
                                                   employed by the newly established
                                                   restoration business operating in its pilot
                                                   year. More jobs will become available
                                                   when NM Restoration expands its
                                                   operations in the near future. Source of
                                                   funding: The Namaqualand Restoration
                                                   Initiative has secured funding from the
                                                   CEPF and from De Beers Namaqualand
During the training course, participants           Mines. This funding has secured the
learnt how to erect shade cloth on new             resources needed to complete its goals and
restoration areas. The shade cloth is used         take the project to completion in 2008.
as windbreaks to secure topsoil and
protect new seedlings from high wind
speeds.                                            (b) RENU-KAROO Veld Restoration. Sue
                                                       Milton and Richard Dean

                                                   The mission of RENU-KAROO VELD
                                                   RESTORATION cc is to make ecological
                                                   restoration with locally indigenous plants a
                                                   sought-after service in the Central Karoo,
                                                   thereby sustaining ecological services and
                                                   generating sustainable livelihoods. Our
                                                   business activities are focussed on the
Participants of the restoration course             repair of vegetation damaged by mining,
receive training on restoration packs that         abandonment of ploughed land and poor
are used to re-introduce perennial plant           grazing management in arid rangeland.
species on newly restored areas.                   Our business will contribute towards
Indigenous seeds and soil ameliorating             improved rangeland management and
additives are placed inside cardboard              restoration by providing professional
boxes that provide additional protection           advice and trained personnel to implement
from abiotic and biotic impacts.                   vegetation restoration. Or broader vision
                                                   is to facilitate a network of small
The selected 47 trainees from 150                  businesses run by rural people that collect
applicants were invited to a five day              and distribute indigenous seed appropriate
residential course and provided with               for restoration of local vegetation types.
accommodation and food. The course ran             The network would extend throughout and
from the 8 to 12th of October 2007 from            beyond the Karoo. We believe that our
08h30 to 18h00 every day. The trainees             products and services will encourage
learned the techniques for successful              farming, engineering and development
restoration, including proper handling of          enterprises to invest corporate funds into
topsoil, identification of local plant species     rangeland restoration and the indigenous
to be used in restoration, methods of              seed supply industry, ensuring its
selecting, harvesting and storing viable           sustainability.
seed, as well as methods of planting the
seeds so as to achieve the greatest success,

                                                Plant Conservation Unit: Annual Report 2007

Renu-karoo is developing indigenous seed          basis, and one woman on a part-time basis
orchards and local skills in seed collection,     from June until December 2008.
indigenous horticulture and ecological            Techniques were developed with these
restoration work within the village of            staff members for propagation of
Prince Albert. Through skills development         indigenous plants from seed and cuttings,
and marketing of a new service, the               and for their care and transplantation.
business is providing employment                  Nursery stock now includes 24 succulent
opportunities in this under-resourced part        species, 10 trees, 8 shrubs and 6
of the Karoo.                                     herbaceous species. All of these have been
To heighten awareness of our services and         produced by Renu-karoo from locally
to develop our knowledge base we will             gathered seed and cuttings. The range
establish     demonstration     trials    on      includes the locally-used medicinal plants
communal rangeland and involve students           Ballota africana (kattekruid), Dicoma
in restoration research.                          capensis       (karmedik),       Pegolettia
                                                  baccharidifolia (heuningdou).       Renu-
In 2007 two hectares of land (36 rows 200         Karoo also has stocks of seed of eight
m in length) were ploughed for                    karoo veld plant species. We have applied
establishment of and indigenous forage            to Cape Nature to renew our license to
plant seed orchard. A submersible pump            grow and sell protected plants.
was installed and a basic irrigation system
(piping from pump to land and flood               In 2008 we have four main activities that
irrigation) was established in October            we have planned. Firstly, we plan to
2007. To minimize erosion potential, the          translocate the nursery from its present
land has been divided into four sections.         location in a suburban garden to a securely
Thirty rows in the upper 50 m of the              fenced area at the seed orchard site. An
ploughed land were irrigated on 3                 equipment store and on-site ablution
occasions in November 2007 and were               facilities for staff will be built. Secondly,
sown following the first irrigation.              we plan to improve seed orchard
Tripteris sinuata (karoo bietou) was sown         establishment and irrigation techniques
in 30 rows and Eriocephalus ericoides             through research. The establishment rate of
(kapok),        Fingerhuthia        africana      approximately one established seedling per
(vingerhoedgras/thimble       grass)     and      two meters is disappointingly low. We
Tetragonia fruticosa (klappiesbrak) were          need to improve our planting and irrigation
sown in two rows each. Ten rows were              technique. We hope to attract one or more
packed with brush to provide shelter for          honours-level student to quantify factors
seedlings. In addition, 150 bietou seedlings      influencing seedling establishment in the
were established from nursery-grown plugs         seed orchard. Thirdly, we will establish a
and transplanted into the site. A windbreak       demonstration trial in 2008. We will
of 60 Acacia karroo (soetdoring) trees and        collaborate with LandCare to set up a
120 Portulacaria afra (spekboom) cuttings         demonstration veld reseeding trail at
was established.       500 Acacia karroo          Wegelegen Natuurkamp in Prince Albert.
seedlings were grown in the nursery for           This is a LandCare funded veld kamp for
establishment of a woodlot on the closed          school learners. Finally, our enterprise is
landfill site near the local sewage works.        not yet financially self-sufficient. To date
This project will be initiated in 2008 once       we have sold a total of 14.4 kg of seeds
we have established collaboration with the        and 195 indigenous plants (mostly for
Municipality.                                     horticulture).      To     generate    stable
                                                  employment and develop a viable
Two local women (Maraai Isaacs, Mina              restoration business we need to sell our
Jansen) were employed on a full time              products and services. We will therefore

                                               Plant Conservation Unit: Annual Report 2007

invest more time in 2008 for marketing our       Plant use
seeds, plants and services. This will be
done locally by advertising through the          Programme Leader & Research Team
farmers co-operative and tourism office,         Prof Timm Hoffman
and      more      widely     by    placing      Ms Rhoda Louw – PCU
advertisements in farming magazines,             Ms Zulaiga Worth – PCU
writing popular articles on the subject of
restoration, and registering with SACNAS.        Research Partners
                                                 Dr T. Diets - (SANPAD)
Sources of funding: Rufford Small Grants         Dr Thembela Kepe – Programme for Land
for Conservation, Plant Conservation Unit        and Agrarian Studies (PLAAS), UWC
                                                 MAZDA Wildlife Vehicle Fund
Future directions                                Mr N. Oettle – Environmental Monitoring
This research programme continues to be a        Group (EMG)
healthy focus for the PCU with                   WWF - Table Mountain Fund
considerable benefits in terms of student        Ms Samantha Williams – Programme for
involvement, the application of science for      Land and Agrarian Studies (PLAAS),
biodiversity     conservation,     industry,     UWC
development and job creation. specifically,      South Africa Netherlands Research
and active engagement with civil society         Programme        on    Alternatives  in
generally. Both projects actively engage         Development (SANPAD)
broad civil society and involve academic
and business sectors, crossing divides and       Overview
using wide-ranging synergies to achieve its      Several plants of the Cape Floristic Region
goals. A key goal for the coming year for        support multi-billion Rand industries
the NRI is the publication of a restoration      which employ thousands of people. These
field guide for persons interested in            include Aspalathus linearis (rooibos tea),
restoration of lowland Namaqualand. This         Agathosma betulina (buchu), Cyclopia spp.
simple ‘How to’ book for restoration in the      (honeybush tea), Aloe ferox (aloetic juices)
region, will be distributed freely amongst       and several Restionaceae species. Despite
land-users in Namaqualand. The NRI will          the importance of these industries for the
come to an in December 2008. RENU-               local and regional economy, it is
KAROO Veld Restoration will continue to          remarkable how little research has been
be supported in 2008.                            done to develop sustainable harvesting
                                                 guidelines for the industry. Some of these
                                                 products have increased significantly in
                                                 value over the last ten years and there is
                                                 some concern, primarily from conservation
                                                 agencies, that these resources are being
                                                 over-harvested. In addition, there is an
                                                 increasingly    determined     call    from
                                                 harvesters to access large stands of the
                                                 resource which occur in formal protected
                                                 areas in the region. This programme aims
                                                 to work with government/parastatal
                                                 departments and with NGO’s active in the
                                                 area as well as with local harvesters,
                                                 farmers and the various industries to
                                                 provide     guidelines    for    sustainable
                                                 harvesting practices for each of the species

                                               Plant Conservation Unit: Annual Report 2007

harvested. Work started with the buchu               known to occur within the study
industry and has subsequently branched               domain.
out to rooibos tea. While work on Aloe
                                                 •   Knowledge sharing workshops with
ferox and several Restionaceae species has
                                                     members of local farming communities
occurred in the past the only new project in
                                                     at Wupperthal and in the Suid
2007 has been a study of medicinal plants
in Paulshoek.
                                                 •   On the basis of the interviews and
                                                     workshops,    participatory     field
Projects                                             surveys of wild rooibos populations
                                                     were undertaken with volunteers from
(a) Sustainable harvesting of wild                   each community.
Aspalathus linearis (rooibos) in the Suid
                                                 •   Based on parameters of key variables
Bokkeveld, Northern Cape. Rhoda Louw –
                                                     measured during field surveys and GIS
MSc student. Expected submission date –
                                                     data extracted from research databases,
Mar 2006. Supervisors: Timm Hoffman &
                                                     a bioclimatic envelope was developed
Noel Oettle.
                                                     indicating locations within the study
                                                     domain where wild rooibos tea is most
Although Rhoda Louw graduated in 2006
                                                     likely to occur.
work on Rooibos tea continued in 2007
with some input from staff of the PCU and        •   A morphometric study of important
Botany Department. The following text is             anatomical features such as leaf length,
taken directly from the Executive                    growth form, degree of brancing etc.
Summary of a report submitted to CEPF,               was carried out on wild rooibos
the main funder of the ongoing research              biotypes across sites in the study area
into rooibos tea.                                    to determine the degree of variation in
                                                     the species across its range.
“The Environmental Monitoring Group              Nine interviews and eight workshops were
(EMG), in partnership with the University        held to gather local knowledge on wild
of Cape Town and Indigo development &            rooibos distribution, to map wild rooibos
change has undertaken participatory              populations and to supplement the findings
research in collaboration with local             of subsequent field surveys. Land owners
farmers, and specifically members of the         and collectors of the wild resource also
Heiveld Co-operative (Suid Bokkeveld)            shared their knowledge of current
and the Wupperthal Rooibos Tea                   management of wild rooibos populations
Association. Technical and scientific            and their habitats.
support were provided by Timm Hoffman,           Quantitative and qualitative data were
Simon Todd and Alastair Potts of the Plant       gathered on wild rooibos populations at 44
Conservation Unit which is located within        sites in the study domain. Three to eight
the Botany Department at the University of       plant material samples were collected at
Cape Town.                                       each of the sites and are being preserved
Research was undertaken within a                 for future genetic analysis. All populations
Participtory Action Research (PAR)               surveyed were located on private and
context. The following methods of data           church-owned land within the study
collection were used in the course of the        domain. In all cases the farm owner,
study:                                           manager or resident farm worker
                                                 accompanied the researcher in the field.
•   Interviews   with   knowledgeable
                                                 Surveys were strictly conducted with
    members of local communities in
                                                 written permission of the land owner.
    regions where wild rooibos tea is

                                               Plant Conservation Unit: Annual Report 2007

Data was gathered on the ‘height to              contributors of the study, and is centred on
diameter ratio’ (the pre-harvested height        the concerns and interests of the collectors
divided by the average diameter of the           and custodians of the wild resource.”
plant), the harvestable biomass and the
angle of branching. The full data set was
also subjected to a Principal Components
                                                 (b) Key social and biological factors that
Analysis (PCA).
                                                 influence sustainable harvesting of
                                                 Agathosma betulina in the Cederberg
It was concluded from both the local             region of South Africa.. Zulaiga Worth –
knowledge, as well as from the PCA, that         PhD student. Expected submission date –
wild rooibos may be categorised into four        Feb 2008. Supervisors: Timm Hoffman &
morphological types:                             Ton Dietz.
•   Suid   Bokkeveld:      “Veldtee”,    a       This Buchu Project will contribute to
    voluminous resprouter described in the       policy guidelines for the sustainable
    PCA as the shrub form;                       harvesting of Agathosma betulina (A.
                                                 betulina). A. betulina is the raw material
•   Wupperthal: “Langbeentee” (Long-             on which the industry, worth R150 million,
    legged tea) or “Regoptee” (Upright           is based. Half the buchu used, is derived
    tea), a re-seeder (erect form);              from the wild and concerns were raised
                                                 about the sustainability of the current
•   Wupperthal:          “Ranktee”        or     practice of annual harvesting cycles. The
    “Rankiestee” (Creeper tea), a sparse re-     overall task of this thesis is to examine
    sprouter (prostrate form); and               how the harvesting of A. betulina can be
                                                 managed to secure the ecological
•   Biedouw Valley: “Boomtee” (Tree              sustainability of the resource, in ways that
    tea), an erect reseeder (tree type)          maintain the social and economic roles of
                                                 the plants, and is acceptable to as wide a
Preliminary results were taken up for            range of stakeholder groups as possible.
further investigation by a Alastair Potts at     The task for 2007, was to write the PhD
the University of Cape Town, and results         thesis chapters.
formed part of his Honours thesis.
                                                 To identify the social and economic roles
The bioclimatic modelling exercise was           of Agathosma betulina, the following were
undertaken by Simon Todd of the PCU in           described from data collected in 2004-
terms of the following climate parameters:       2006 through interviews, focus groups and
daily maximum temperatures of the hottest        observations; the identity and main
month (oC), daily minimum temperatures           interests in A. betulina of the different
of the coldest month (oC), heat units during     stakeholder groups, the issues identified by
winter and summer (degree days), potential       the different groups on the current buchu
evaporation (mm), water stress (% days           management system, the power and gender
under stress) and elevation (m). The             relations and its influence on buchu
climate envelope is sufficiently detailed to     harvesting practice, and the relative
distinguish suitable and unsuitable areas        importance of A. betulina to livelihoods.
for wild rooibos.                                The role of local perception of ‘good
                                                 harvesting best practices’ and perceived
The report concludes with comments on            threats to wild A. betulina populations on
future research directions for wild A.           actual buchu harvesting practice is
linearis. This section draws on the research     described. Descriptions of the current and
experience and knowledge of all the              historical contexts within which the buchu

                                                 Plant Conservation Unit: Annual Report 2007

industry operates, and descriptions of the         that the cutting heights perceived as ideal
product and value chain were used to               and used by 61 % of respondents, (that of 0
interpret stakeholder viewpoints on the key        and 5 cm), does not serve the biological
tensions that drive the higher than desired        sustainability agenda of the plant, nor the
harvesting rate.                                   economic sustainability agenda of the
The best month to harvest Agathosma
betulina was identified by tracing its             A similar experiment examined the effect
phenology through monthly monitoring of            of four harvesting frequencies using plants
10 marked plants on each of three sites at         from the same sites. Harvesting frequency
different ends of the A. betulina                  has no significant influence on mortality
distribution range. The timing of growth,          when one year old plants are cut at 10 cm
flowering, fruiting, and leaf abscission           from the soil. On average A. betulina
were recorded from October 2004 to                 harvested at three monthly intervals
January 2006. The literature was used to           regained 34% of its original biomass after
identify the month of highest oil yield and        one year, and those harvested twice a year
of high oil quality. The phenological              regained 77% of its original biomass.
profile for one-year old plants over a             Plants that are harvested once a year
calendar year suggests that buds first             gained all of biomass removed a year
appear in early winter, (i.e. from May), but       before. Plants that were left to grow for
peak flowering is in early spring months           two years re=grew 2,5 times the biomass
(Aug-Sep). Fruiting peaks from Oct-Nov.            that was removed two years before.
Rapid growth occurs in spring (Sep-Nov).
Leaf fall is greatest immediately after this
peak in growth activity. From this data,
harvesting in March was recommended for
cutting because this is when cutting is least
likely to disturb the phenological rhythm.
It is also when the oil yield is high, and the
oil is of a quality that the markets demand.

Mortality, above ground biomass regrowth,
volume regrowth, leaf to stem ratio
changes, and oil yield were used to
measure the influence of harvesting at the
heights most frequently used by harvesters         Zulaiga Worth and Hermanus Koopman,
(5 and 10cm from the soil). Harvesting             one of the harvesters interviewed for this
experiments using four plants each for             study, busy setting up the experiments on
5cm, 10cm and uncut treatments, on each            Waterkloof..
of three study sites were performed. The
experiments were set up in October 2004            Concerns that annual harvesting is too
and harvested in October 2005. The results         frequent is not supported by the evidence.
show that the phenology of plants                  Long-term studies that follow biomass
harvested at 5 and 10 cm is the same as for        production over a more than one year
uncut plants. Volumes regrowth by 5 and            might be useful to explore this further.
10cm treated plants were similar, but              Leaving A. betulina uncut for a second
biomass regrowth after one year were               year, however, results in a 250% increase
significantly lower for 5cm treated plants.        in biomass relative to its initial biomass.
Plants cut at 5 cm had a higher risk of            This is not enough to encourage farmers to
death than those cut at 10cm. This showed          accept the risk of losing the harvest to

                                               Plant Conservation Unit: Annual Report 2007

theft, and could have adverse effects on
replenishing seeds into the population if
local perceptions are true that plants take
between two and three years to flower.
                                                 Conservation      planning              and
Future work should include correcting the        biodiversity research
false perceptions of the ideal harvesting
height, negotiating revision of the permit       Programme Leader & Research Team
system and negotiating the restructure of        Prof Timm Hoffman (Programme Leader)
the local buchu industry and its systems to      Mr Theo Manuel – PCU
reduce the number of entry points for            Mr Jonathan Colville – PCU/Zoology
stolen buchu. Options to review fire             Dr Philip Desmet – PCU/Independent
regulations to better manage the patches of      consultant
buchu veld should be explored with               Amrei von Hase - PCU
stakeholder groups, following research on
fire schedules that will benefit buchu, and      Research Partners
the impact of the proposed schedules on          Dr Chris Reddy – Stellenbosch University
biodiversity. The issue of access to buchu       Dr Mike Picker – Zoology Department,
for landless people is a serious one for         UCT
some stakeholder groups, and has to be           Prof Richard Cowling – Nelson Mandela
addressed with all stakeholder groups            Metropolitan University
during the policy development process.           Dr Allan Ellis – Post-doc at University of
The use of expert conflict managers with a       KwaZulu-Natal, Pietermaritzburg campus
good grasp of the local politics and fluency     Mr Nick Helme – Consultant to SKEP
with the local languages is recommended          CEPF – Kamiesberg Uplands Conservation
for this process.                                Project
                                                 Leslie Hill Succulent Karoo Trust –
Source of funding: SANPAD                        managed by WWF
                                                 MAZDA Wildlife Vehicle Fund
Future directions
Except for minor new initiatives in the          Overview
field of medical plant use in Paulshoek,         In the past this programme defined many
there are no plans to expand upon this           of the activities of the institute. As staff,
programme in the coming year.                    students and post-docs have left, however,
                                                 the expertise to carry out this work and
Resources and funding                            supervise students within this programme
SANPAD have provided considerable                has also dwindled. A highlight for 2006 is
resources in support of research within this     the PhD graduation of Theo Manuel.
programme over the years and the Critical        Currently only Jonathan Colville and
Ecosystem Partnership Fund has provided          Amrei von Hase are working within this
some support for Rhoda’s work on rooibos         programme. In addition, a CEPF funded
tea.                                             survey of the Kamiesberg uplands also
                                                 forms part of this programme. Philip
                                                 Desmet continues to provide considerable
                                                 expertise for the Leslie Hill Succulent
                                                 Karoo Trust in the development of its
                                                 strategic framework for land acquisition in
                                                 the Succulent Karoo.


                                               Plant Conservation Unit: Annual Report 2007

                                                 richness and endemism. Working with
(a) Diversity and turnover of monkey             researchers in Australia (Dr Simon
beetles (Scarabaeidae: Hopliini) at              Ferrier),    Generalised      Dissimilarity
different spatial scales in winter-rainfall      Modelling (GDM) has been used to model
southern Africa. Jonathan Colville – PhD         species turnover patterns of South African
thesis. Expected submission date – Feb           monkey beetles and plants. Furthermore,
2007. Supervisors: Mike Picker, Richard          elevated levels of species richness have
Cowling.                                         been linked to sexual dimorphism patterns
                                                 found in South African monkey beetles.
Monkey beetles are a very speciose and           These patterns are related to speciation
important       pollinator    group      in      through sexual selection.
Namaqualand. The majority of the worlds’
species are endemic to South Africa (ca
65%), and the majority of these species (ca      (b) Conservation planning for biodiversity
70%) are restricted to the winter rainfall       persistence and the implementation of
regions with the centre of adaptive              conservation action in a fragmented,
radiation in centred within the Succulent        transformed South African ecosystem.
Karoo. Knowledge of the distribution and         Amrei von Hase – PhD thesis. Expected
diversity of insect groups in Namaqualand        submission date – Feb 2008. Supervisors:
is poor. Furthermore, in broad-scale             Richard Cowling, Mathieu Rouget, Timm
conservation planning, insects (and other        Hoffman
invertebrates) in Namaqualand have
scarcely been considered.                        The study looks at ways of systematically
                                                 planning for the conservation of an
                                                 irreplaceable (as identified by a
                                                 conservation plan for the Cape Floristic
                                                 Region) highly transformed, fragmented
                                                 and species rich region, using the Cape
                                                 Lowlands renosterveld region in South
                                                 Africa as a case study. Suggestions are
                                                 made for applying meaningful approaches
                                                 to conservation planning in such a
                                                 compromised ecosystem, under conditions
                                                 of limited budgets and urgent need for
                                                 conservation action in an area with
                                                 predominantly private landownership. To
                                                 this end the effectiveness and efficiency of
                                                 simple and complex approaches is
A male and female Scelophysa Monkey              compared at different stages of the
beetle feeding. South Africa has                 conservation planning and implementation
approximately 1,000 species of monkey            process.    Specifically,    methods     are
beetle, with close to 700 species restricted     compared at the stage of 1) developing
to the Succulent Karoo and Fynbos                reliable biodiversity surrogates (vegetation
Biomes.                                          mapping) and 2) prioritising natural areas
                                                 in space and time for conservation
The main components of this thesis are           interventions, with a view to incorporating
complete. A large GIS distribution               likely biodiversity persistence factors as
database has been compiled with over             well as input from implementers.
7,000 locality records entered, which has
allowed the determination of areas of high

                                              Plant Conservation Unit: Annual Report 2007

The study investigates the success of           combined        with       connectivity-based
reaching goals that were set out during the     selection units (to promote likely
conservation planning stage, after a 3-4        biodiversity     persistence     factors     in
year implementation phase – how realistic       prioritisation) is appropriate for selecting
were the goals, how much has been               priority sites through a process that
achieved? Projections for likely future         involves implementers. Although a meta-
achievements are made.                          heuristic approach using incremental
                                                targets could also be used, this kind of
                                                approach is more complex and resource
                                                intensive, less intuitive and less effective at
                                                capturing connected vegetation with a
                                                higher chance of long-term persistence in
                                                the implementation areas.

                                                Implementation of conservation action in
                                                the Cape Lowlands has been a slow, at
                                                times difficult process over the last 3 – 4
                                                years. A number of important successes
                                                (e.g. signed conservation stewardship
                                                contracts) have been achieved, but the
Darling renosterveld in spring. This is one     initial goals, as set out by the 20-year
of many remnants in the fragmented and          conservation vision during the planning
critically endangered Cape Lowlands,            phase seem unrealistic at this stage. Based
where conservation action is taking place       on this it would be advisable to refine
by means of a stewardship project, guided       future planning approaches, expectations
by a conservation plan focused on               and implementation strategies.
implementation       and       biodiversity
                                                Future directions
In summary, the findings are that simple        Jonathan Colville and Amrei von Hase are
approaches are preferable to complex            the last two students involved in this
approaches in planning for an ecosystem         programme. Once they have submitted
that is already as highly compromised as        their theses in 2008 this aspect of the
the Cape Lowlands renosterveld region.          PCU’s research programme is likely to
Simple approaches make sense from an            come to an end. However, it is impossible
effectiveness and efficiency point of view,     to escape the strong focus on biodiversity
in that they are easier to implement and        which runs through all of the programmes
interprete. In the case of vegetation           of the Unit and will continue to do so in
(surrogate) mapping, the expert mapping         the future. In addition, Timm Hoffman’s
approach is defensible and significantly        on-going commitment to the Leslie Hill
more efficient in its resource use than         Succulent Karoo Trust will demand some
using      more     complex      modelling      focus on this field within the broad
methodology.                                    network of the Plant Conservation Unit
                                                and its collaborators.
In prioritising areas for conservation
interventions it was important to address       Resources and funding
both the issue of space and of time             There are no plans in 2008 to secure
(scheduling) so that the implementation         funding for new projects within this
agency can take planning outputs forward.       programme.
A relatively simple scoring approach,

                                               Plant Conservation Unit: Annual Report 2007

                                                 savanna ecosystem. To do this, a number
                                                 of vectors and invasion pathways were
Invasive plant ecology                           investigated to reveal the contribution that
                                                 these specific vectors make to the overall
Programme Leader & Research Team                 invasion of savanna systems. The multi-
Prof Timm Hoffman (nominal Programme             scaled nature of the problem required
Leader after the departure of Dave               examination of the processes at a number
Richardson at the end of December 2004)          of different spatial scales, from the
Mr Llewellyn Foxcroft – PCU/SANParks             landscape to the microhabitat.
Mr Ryan Blanchard – PCU
                                                 During 2007, data for five different
Programme Partners                               components of the project were analysed
Prof Dave Richardson – DST/NRF Centre            and manuscripts submitted for peer review.
for Invasion Biology, Stellenbosch
University                                       (1) At the broadest scale, data from the SA
Dr Pat Holmes – PCU & Private consultant         Plant Invaders Atlas was used in the
Dr Mathieu Rouget – SANBI                        development of a risk assessment
Department of Water Affairs & Forestry -         framework, to evaluate the potential of
Working for Water (WfW) Programme                riparian alien plants to invade protected
Fresh Water Research Unit - University of        areas along river catchments. The
Cape Town                                        framework        allows    the     objective
                                                 prioritisation of catchments (watersheds)
Overview                                         for management, based on the current and
With the departure of Dave Richardson at         potential invasion. Further, the framework
the end of 2004 the programme has been           integrates two methods of approaching
substantially downscaled. It has been            management, namely, an area based
continued in 2007 through the two                approached where all alien species in an
remaining students at the PCU who still          area are considered, and a species based
work on problems created by alien plant          approach, where a single invasive species
invasions. It is also supported by a project     which is considered as a transformer
started on the Cape Peninsula in September       species is managed. The framework was
2007 and supported in part by the funded         applied to the Kruger National Park
by Working for Water programme.                  (KNP). There are currently twice as many
                                                 alien plants in the catchments of the rivers
Projects                                         feeding the KNP than are currently
(a) Patterns and processes of invasion in        recorded in the KNP. Further, the data
an African savanna ecosystem, with               clearly illustrates the invasion along,
emphasis on multiple spatio-temporal             especially, the Sabie and Crocodile River
scales. Llewellyn Foxcroft – PhD student.        systems, where a large number of alien
Expected submission date – 2007.                 species are already recorded in the KNP.
Supervisor: Dave Richardson (Centre for
Invasion      Biology,        Stellenbosch       (2) The large infrequent flood event in the
University). Project partners; Dr Mathieu        Sabie River in 2000 provided an
Rouget (SANBI); Dr Mary Cadenasso (UC            opportunity to evaluate the effect of a large
Davis); Dr Steward Pickett (Institute for        disturbance on driving riparian plant
Ecosystem Studies, NY); Dr Melissa               invasions. Distribution and abundance
Parsons (WITS).                                  data of alien and indigenous plant species
                                                 were collected in different habitats and
This project aims to explore the process of      patch types across the Sabie River. We
invasion by alien plants in an African           were testing whether different patch types

                                               Plant Conservation Unit: Annual Report 2007

would potentially inhibit or promote the         are more ecologically meaningful.
invasion of the river landscape. Some            Similarly, the insights gained from
patches (bedrock distributary and braid bar      working at a resolution of between 0.1 to
geomorphic units) contained higher density       0.5 km, and 1 to 5 km grids, is similar.
and richness of alien plants compared to         Our data reveal that at a scale of 0.1 x 0.1
the other patches examined, indicating that      km cells, only 0.4% of KNP is invaded,
these locations in the river landscape offer     while at the resolution of quarter-degree
the resources necessary for alien plant          cells, over 90% of the park is invaded.
establishment. Analysis further indicates
that although certain species (for example,
Sesbania punicea) are often found in
particular habitats, the majority of species
did not provide clear indications of habitat

(3) Some of the most invasive plant
species currently being managed in the
KNP originated from use as ornamental
plants. Using data collected from 36 tourist
camps and staff villages, we assessed the
role that ornamental plants play in the
invasion of natural habitats. Two hundred
and fifty eight alien plant species were         Opuntia stricta invasion in Kruger
recorded. The number of staff housed in          National Park. The Opuntia stricta /
villages explains much of the diversity of       Acacia nilotica association is visible in the
cultivated alien plant species. Older camps      background, while no plants are visible at
also tend to have more cultivated alien          the base of the Spirostachys africana tree
plant species. However, the lack of a            (front, right).
strong link between camp age and number
of cultivated species suggests that
ornamental plants have been widely spread        (5) What helps Opuntia stricta invade
around the KNP by humans.                        Kruger National Park: baboons or
                                                 elephants? Is Opuntia stricta more
(4) Spatial scale is critical for                frequent, and its patches larger, under trees
understanding and managing biological            suitable for baboon roosting? If so, does it
invasions.    In providing direction to          mean that baboons are major dispersal
managing alien plant invasions, much             agents and that plants established under
emphasis is placed on collecting spatial         these trees are important foci of O. stricta
data. We used a spatially explicit dataset       spread? These questions arose during
of 27,000 alien plant distribution records       previous research on O. stricta spread
for South Africa’s Kruger National Park          dynamics and required a fine scale
(KNP; > 20,000 km2) to explore the role          approach to unravel. We surveyed an area
of scale in interpreting, managing, and          invaded by O. stricta in the Skukuza
monitoring alien plant invasions.                region of KNP. The survey included plots
We show that when assessing alien plant          under potential baboon roosting trees
patterns, working at the scale of a quarter-     (Acacia     nilotica    and     Spirostachys
degree grid reference system or quaternary       africana), plots under trees unlikely to
watersheds (fourth level category in South       support baboons, and paired randomly
Africa’s river basin classification system)      located open sites (see Figure). O. stricta
is almost identical, although watersheds         plants are positively associated with A.

                                                 Plant Conservation Unit: Annual Report 2007

nilotica trees suitable for baboon roosting.       to recover without further intervention.
However, there is no significant difference        However, it is unclear to what extent
between frequency of O. stricta under A.           natural recovery can be achieved. The
nilotica trees suitable and unsuitable for         main aims of this study were to ascertain
baboon roosting. It appears that all A.            the nature of riparian vegetation recovery,
nilotica trees can serve as nurse trees for        as well as determine which clearing
O. stricta. Compared to plots under A.             treatment was most successful in
nilotica trees, frequencies of old and robust      promoting recovery. This was achieved by
O. stricta plants are significantly higher in      focusing on: 1) the recovery of species
open areas and under dead trees. While             composition and biodiversity, 2) recovery
baboons may be responsible for long                of vegetation structure (assumed to be a
distance O. stricta dispersal (over km),           surrogate for ecosystem function) and 3)
their role is not detectable at a local scale.     whether a particular clearing treatment best
On the other hand, elephants seem to               promoted indigenous riparian vegetation
contribute substantially to the local              recovery. Reference sites (control), as
vegetative propagation of this species. We         determined by Prins et al., (2004), were
also suggest that O. stricta establishment         compared to alien-impacted sites in order
and growth are more influenced by micro-           to analyse variation among vegetation
habitat than previously thought.                   variables. Three initial clearing treatments
                                                   were identified, namely: Fell Only (trees
During 2007 I completed my PhD,                    are felled and slash left on site), Fell &
graduating in December. Future work                Remove (slash is removed from the
includes submission of a manuscript                riparian zone) and Fell & Burn (the slash is
emanating from this work, as well as               left for six months to a year before it is
revision and completion of a second                burnt).
manuscript submitted in November.
                                                   This study is part of a Working for Water
                                                   funded initiative entitled: “Targets for
(b) To what extent are the alien plant             ecosystem repair in riparian vegetation in
clearing methods currently used in the             Fynbos, Grassland & Savanna biomes”.
Western Cape resulting in riparian                 This national project aims to provide
ecosystem recover? Ryan Blanchard –                baseline information on the impacts of
MSc student. Expected submission date –            alien plant invasions and clearing methods
Jun 2007. Supervisors: Pat Holmes &                on riparian vegetation recovery, while
Timm Hoffman.                                      assessing the level of ecosystem repair
                                                   following alien clearing. This study
In South Africa, particularly the Fynbos           addresses these aims within the Fynbos
Biome, closed-stand invasions by alien             Biome by investigating the impacts of
Acacia and Eucalyptus species have been            control operations on natural recovery in
able to develop within riparian areas with         riparian zones in the southwestern part of
large impacts on water resources and               the Western Cape.
biodiversity. The Working for Water
programme is tasked with the important              One of the most important conclusions
role of controlling invasive alien plants          from this work is that the clearing
with an assumption that indigenous                 treatment used can have a significant
vegetation will recover naturally. Current         impact on the recovery of indigenous
management objectives are to reduce                vegetation with regard to species
above ground biomass of invasive alien             composition, species richness, growth form
plants by labour intensive means, after            structure and vegetation structure. The
which indigenous vegetation is usually left        impacts of both increased slash and

                                                Plant Conservation Unit: Annual Report 2007

burning within the riparian zone may              well as the interaction between these key
compromise or prolong the recovery time           drivers. The original survey was performed
of indigenous vegetation. The most                in vegetation younger than 2 years where
important difference between cleared and          most plants would have been seedlings. In
Reference plots was in terms of their             the five years since the first survey the
species composition. The loss of key              vegetation would have matured and
riparian species (namely: 3-10 m trees,           individuals would have died due to shading
including,     Brachylaena      neriifolia,       or other forms of competition within and
Metrosideros angustifolia; and other              between fynbos and alien species.
fynbos scrub elements, including: Elegia          Differences in species richness between
capensis, Cannomois virgata, Berzelia             sites may similarly have been negated by
lanuginosa, Leucadendron salicifolium,            the colonization of new species since the
Erica caffra) in some cleared plots is the        last survey. This study will improve our
main reason for their dissimilarity to            knowledge of successional processes in
Reference plots as determined by a                fynbos communities between fire events
Detrended Correspondence Analysis.                and as a result of alien clearing practices.
                                                  Repeated monitoring of these sites will
Although burning was the best method to           also be beneficial for studies of fynbos
reduce woody alien species, secondary             vegetation dynamics and community
invasion by alien herbaceous species              ecology, and for detecting the impacts of
occurred where natural riparian vegetation        climate change.
did not re-establish. The Fell & Remove
treatment is recommended as the best to           Future directions
use in promoting indigenous vegetation            Links have been maintained between the
recovery, and together with continued alien       PCU and the DST/NRF Centre for
follow-up control, is able to minimize alien      Invasion Biology through the collaborative
re-invasion of riparian ecosystems.               work of Dave Richardson and Pat Holmes.
Managers are advised to consider active           However, with the completion of the two
restoration measures in areas where               students theses in 2007 this programme
recovery is likely to be protracted, in order     does not form part of the Plant
to facilitate the recovery process. Areas         Conservation Units strategic plan for the
where protracted recovery may be                  period 2007-2011 and except for the Cape
anticipated are: areas where large slash          Peninsula fire plot survey will not be
piles are left in situ, areas where large         expanded upon in the future.
slash piles have been burnt generating
excessive heat and a lack of important            Resources and funding
riparian species emerging following               Resources for work on alien plant
clearing.                                         invasions has come from the South African
                                                  National Parks for the KNP work and from
(c)    Re-survey of Cape Peninsula fire           the Department of Water Affairs and
plots Ryan Blanchard, Doug Euston-                Forestry’s Working for Water programme
Brown, Sue Botha, Jasper Slingsby,                for the fynbos riparian zone research and
William Bond, Timm Hoffman.                       the Cape Peninsula fire plot survey.

This project involves the resurvey of 52
sample sites used in the Euston-Brown et
al (2002) study. The main aims of the
project are to explore the impacts of severe
fires, drought and alien plants on the post-
fire succession of fynbos communities as

                                               Plant Conservation Unit: Annual Report 2007

RESEARCH ASSOCIATES,                             ecosystem-service research in the Fynbos
                                                 has focused on the impact of alien trees on
POSTDOCS & VISITING                              water supply, pollination services, tourism
SCIENTISTS                                       and biodiversity values, but has largely
                                                 neglected       carbon      sequestration—a
Peter Carrick                                    prominent ecosystem service in a world of
After completing his PhD studies on the          emerging economic incentives for climate
ecology of Namaqualand shrublands, Peter         change mitigation. Ryan’s research asks,
joined the PCU as a post-doc to continue         “How much carbon is sequestered in Pinus
this work. He has subsequently led an            plantations versus native mountain Fynbos
exciting project which addresses the             vegetation?” and “How does this affect
restoration needs of the many mining areas       benefit-cost analyses used in land-use
in Namaqualand.         The Namaqualand          decision making?” The results of his
Restoration Initiative is detailed in the        preliminary benefit-cost analyses were
Disturbance and Restoration Ecology              inconclusive because of uncertainty in the
section above. Work on this project started      underlying biological and economic data.
in 2005.      Peter has also contributed         In particular, the impact of afforestation by
significantly to the teaching and student        Pinus on soil carbon in the Fynbos is
supervision load of the Unit.                    unknown. Qualitative field observations
                                                 and discussions with South African
Rick Rohde                                       scientists suggest that even though pine
Rick is associated with the Centre for           plantations may increase soil carbon over a
African Studies at the University of             period of decades, the accumulation of fuel
Edinburgh and has had a long association         in these plantations leads to occasional
with the PCU and UWC’s Programme for             severe fires that burn the soil layer and
Land and Agrarian Studies. He has spent          probably lead to net carbon losses. Ryan
considerable time working on various joint       will return to South Africa in the winter of
projects with colleagues at the PCU. He          2008 to collect more soil cores and survey
was actively involved in the MAPOSDA             litter, debris and vegetation using the
project until its end in April 2005 and is       Australian Greenhouse Office’s (AGO)
currently involved with the WADE project         National Carbon Accounting System.
both of which are funded by the European         These data on the carbon cycle will be
Union. Rick’s training is in anthropology        incorporated, along with existing data on
and he is best-known for this as well as his     water supply and other ecosystem services,
environmental history work in Namibia            into ecological-economic models of the
and Namaqualand.         He is currently         Fynbos to predict and inform changes in
working on several projects with Timm            land-use patterns in the future.
Hoffman, Simon Todd and other
colleagues linked to the PCU and is co-          John Gallo
supervising students in the unit. He was         John work with the PCU as a post-doc in
awarded Honorary Research Associate              2007 in association with other colleagues
status at UCT by the University Research         from the CSIR and NMMU. The primary
Committee in 2007.                               goal of his research was to determine the
                                                 extent to which private conservation areas
Ryan Chisholm                                    (PCA)     (as    opposed    to    statutory
Ryan is from the Department of Ecology           conservation areas (SCA) have contributed
and Evolutionary Biology at Princeton            to biodiversity conservation in the Little
University, USA. For his PhD thesis he is        Karoo. His objectives were to determine
investigating Alien trees and carbon             how much of the landscape is covered by
sequestration in the Fynbos. Previous            SCAs and PCAs, and then to determine if

                                                Plant Conservation Unit: Annual Report 2007

they are representing similar types and           Rainer completed a post-doc with the Plant
quality      of      biodiversity.    Several     Conservation Unit in 2007. His project,
biodiversity     surrogates      were   used      which is funded by the Department of
including vegetation types, biomes, and           Science and Technology assesses the
ecological processes. Elevation and degree        impact of different threats to the Giant
of transformation were also included in the       Quiver Tree (Aloe pillansii).           This
analysis. The results show that PCAs play         keystone species occurs primarily in the
a significant role in biodiversity                Richtersveld and southern Namibia.
conservation. This is not only because            Rainer’s analysis uses an ecological
PCAs are quite prevalent in the region            simulation model based on field data
(24% of the region, versus 14% for SCAs)          collected over a number of years. A basic
but because the areas they conserve are           understanding about the events governing
distinctly different from the areas               the life cycle of the species (e.g.
conserved by SCAs. PCAs are more                  recruitment, growth and survival rates) is
prevalent in the lower elevations of the          essential for the development of the
region (mean elevation of 752 m versus            simulation model. The analysis suggests
1031 m for SCAs). As would be expected            that the oldest plant (8 m tall) in the
from this, PCAs represent a proportionally        Cornell’s Kop population s to be more then
higher percentage of renosterveld,                300 years old. Recruitment events appear
succulent karoo, and thicket, while SCAs          very infrequent and based on an analysis of
represent a much higher percentage of             the size class distribution in the population
fynbos (the mountain vegetation). Related         significant recruitment occurred around the
to this is the fact that PCAs conserve nine       years 1729, 1771, 1863, 1950 and 1999.
times as much area of critically endangered       Using a bootstrap approach recruitment
and endangered habitat as SCAs do. (For it        intervals were determined as being
is in the lowlands that most of the habitat       between 36 and 148 years apart. Further
is being destroyed.) If SCAs alone are            steps will investigate the role of climate
considered, then 61 of the 344 habitat            change, land use impacts and plant theft on
types have their biodiversity conservation        the survival of this endangered species.
targets met. If both SCAs and PCAs are            Besides Rainer’s project responsibilities he
considered then that figure almost triples to     also advises MSc and PhD students
160. These results are even more profound         registered within the PCU.
than expected, highlighting the need to
look at the phenomena of private land
conservation in more detail. How can the          TEACHING
practice be expanded? How can the
durability and dependability of private           Staff of the PCU taught on several
conservation be improved? What is the             undergraduate and postgraduate courses
quality of biodiversity conservation on           within the Faculty of Science during 2007.
PCAs, and how can this be bolstered? We           Timm Hoffman and Lindsey Gillson
hope to address some of these questions in        taught on the 2nd year course (Principles of
future research. Similarly, these results         Ecology-BIO2004F) as well as on the third
affect how we strategize for conservation.        year    course     Ecosystems      Ecology-
Another rich line of research will be             BIO3009f. The prime contribution here
determining how to incorporate private            was a module detailing the impact of land
conservation into systematic conservation         use in the arid zone of South Africa.
planning.                                         Timm and Lindsey also contributed to the
                                                  Botany Department’s Honours module
Rainer Krug                                       primarily through a five day field trip to
                                                  the Cederberg and Namaqualand where

                                              Plant Conservation Unit: Annual Report 2007

students   were      exposed      to    the           L. 2007. A changing climate is
environmental history of the region as well           eroding the geographic range of the
as to the practical problems in the                   Namib Desert tree Aloe through
communal lands of the region. Timm and                population declines and dispersal
Lindsey also taught on the third year                 lags. Diversity and Distributions 13:
course, Environmental Change-EGS3014s                 645-653.
in the Environmental and Geographical
Science department.                             6.    Foxcroft, L.C. & Freitag-Ronaldson,
                                                      S. 2007. Seven decades of
                                                      institutional learning: managing alien
PUBLICATIONS (2007)                                   plant invasions in the Kruger
                                                      National Park, South Africa. Oryx
Peer-reviewed papers & book chapters                  41: 1-8.

1.   Allsopp, N., Gaika, L., Knight, R,         7.    Foxcroft, L.C. & Rejmánek, M.
     Monakisi, C. and Hoffman, M.T.                   2007. What helps Opuntia stricta
     2007. The impact of heavy grazing                invade Kruger National Park:
     on an ephemeral river system in the              baboons or elephants? Journal of
     succulent karoo, South Africa.                   Applied Vegetation Science 10: 265-
     Journal of Arid Environments 71: 82-             270.
                                                8.    Foxcroft, L.C. & Downey, P.O. 2007.
2.   Anderson, P.M.L. & Hoffman, M.T.                 Protecting biodiversity by managing
     2007. The impacts of sustained heavy             alien plants in national parks:
     grazing on plant diversity and                   perspectives from South Africa and
     composition in lowland and upland                Australia. In: Tokarska-Guzik, B.,
     habitats across the Kamiesberg                   Brock, J.H., Brundu, G., Child, L.,
     mountain range in the Succulent                  Daehler, C.C. & Pyšek, P. Plant
     Karoo.        Journal     of    Arid             Invasions:     Human      perception,
     Environments 70: 686-700.                        ecological impacts and management.
                                                      pp. 387-403. Backhuys Publishers,
3.   Carrick, P.J. & Kruger, R. 2007.                 Leiden, The Netherlands.
     Restoring degraded landscapes in
     lowland Namaqualand: Lessons from          9.    Foxcroft, L.C., Hoffmann, J.H.,
     the mining experience and from                   Viljoen, J.J. & Kotze, J.J. 2007.
     regional    ecological  dynamics.                Environmental factors influencing
     Journal of Arid Environments 70:                 the distribution of Opuntia Stricta, an
     767–781.                                         invasive alien plant in the Kruger
                                                      National Park, South Africa. South
4.   Cousins, B., Hoffman, M.T.,                      African Journal of Botany 73: 109-
     Allsopp, N. & Rohde, R.F. 2007. A                112.
     synthesis of social and biological
     perspectives on sustainable land use       10.   Foxcroft, L.C., Hoffmann, J.H.,
     in Namaqualand. Journal of Arid                  Viljoen, J.J. & Kotze, J.J. 2007.
     Environments 70: 834-846.                        Influence of Opuntia stricta density
                                                      and other environmental features on
5.   Foden, W., Midgley, G.F., Hughes,                Cactoblastis cactorum distribution in
     G., Bond, W.J., Thuiller, W.,                    Kruger National Park, South Africa.
     Hoffman,     M.T.,    Kaleme,   P.,              South African Journal of Botany 73:
     Underhill, L., Rebelo, A. & Hannah               113-117.

                                             Plant Conservation Unit: Annual Report 2007

                                                     Biodiversity Conservation 16:165-
11.   Foxcroft, L.C., Rouget, M. &                   182.
      Richardson, D.M. 2007. Risk
      assessment of riparian alien plant       19.   Lebert, T., & Rohde, R.F. 2007.
      invasion into protected areas- a               Land reform and the new elite:
      landscape approach. Conservation               exclusion of the poor from
      Biology 21: 412-421.                           communal land in Namaqualand,
                                                     South Africa. Journal of Arid
12.   Gillson, L. & Duffin, K. 2007.                 Environments 70: 818-833.
      Thresholds of potential concern as
      benchmarks in the management of          20.   O’Farrell, P.J., Donaldson, J.S. &
      African savannas. Philosophical                Hoffman, M.T. 2007. The influence
      Transactions of the Royal Society of           of ecosystem goods and services on
      London B.362: 309-319.                         livestock management practices on
                                                     the Bokkeveld plateau, South Africa.
13.   Gillson, L.& Hoffman, M.T. 2007.               Agriculture,     Ecosystems       &
      Rangeland ecology in a changing                Environment 122: 312-324.
      world. Science 315: 53-54.
                                               21.   Picker, M.D., Hoffman, M.T. &
14.   Gillson, L. & Hoffman, M.T. 2007.              Leverton, B. 2007. The density of
      Grazing and “degradation”. Science             Microhodotermes                 viator
      316: 1565 – 1567.                              (Hodotermitidae)      mounds        in
                                                     Southern Africa in relation to rainfall
15.   Hoffman, M.T. & Rohde, R.F. 2007.              and productivity gradients. Journal
      The historical impact of changing              of Zoology 271: 37-44.
      land use practices in Namaqualand.
      Journal of Arid Environments 70:         22.   Richardson, F.D., Hahn, B.D. &
      641-658.                                       Hoffman, M.T. 2007. Modelling the
                                                     productivity and sustainability of
16.   Hoffman, M.T., Allsopp, N. &                   pastoral systems in the communal
      Rohde, R.F. 2007. Sustainable land             areas of Namaqualand. Journal of
      use in Namaqualand, South Africa:              Arid Environments 70: 701-717.
      Key issues in an interdisciplinary
      debate.       Journal   of    Arid       23. Shiponeni, N.N. Carrick, P.J. &
      Environments 561-569.                        Allsopp, N. 2007. Competitive
                                                   relationships between grass and leaf
17.   James, I., Munro, A., Hoffman, M.T.,         succulent shrub at the ecotone
      O’Farrell, P.J. and Smart, R. 2007.          between arid grassland and succulent
      The economic value of flower                 shrubland. South African Journal of
      tourism at the Namaqua National              Botany 73: 312.
      Park, South Africa. South African
      Journal     of     Economic     and      24.   Todd, S.W. 2006. Contributor to two
      Management Sciences 10(4): 442-                vegetation types in: Fynbos Biome.
      456.                                           Rebelo, AG., Boucher, C., Helme,
                                                     N., Mucina, L. & Rutheroford, M.C.
18.   Kalamandeen, M. and Gillson, L.                Chapter 4 in: The Vegetation of South
      2007. De-mything ‘Wilderness’:                 Africa, Lesotho and Swaziland.
      Implications for protected area                Mucina, L. & Rutherford, M.C.
      designation   and   management.                (Eds.) 2006. Strelitzia 19. South
                                                     African     National     Biodiversity

                                                 Plant Conservation Unit: Annual Report 2007

       Institute, Pretoria. ISBN 13: 978-1-             Programme)        September     2007
       919976-21-1 & 10: 1-919976-21-3.                 (reproduced in SANBI and CEPF e-
                                                        news letters also in September 2007).
25.    Willis, K.J., Gillson, L. & Knapp, S.  
       2007. Biodiversity hotspots through              _focus/2007/sept0407_feature.xml
       time: an introduction. Philosophical
       Transactions of the Royal Society of        3.   Colville, J. & Helme, N. 2007.
       London B 362: 169-176.                           Brochure on the Kamiesberg
                                                        Uplands. Highlighting the recent
                                                        botanical and insect findings from a
Conference proceedings                                  CEPF funded, Kamiesberg Uplands
                                                        Conservation Project.
                                                   4.   Kruger, P., Botha, M.S. and Kruger,
Book reviews, published meeting reports,                R. Replacing dumps with daisies
website publications, etc.                              Namaqualand Mines Chronicle,
                                                        September to December 2007, page
None                                                    9.

Professional reports                               5.   Theron, H. 2007. Namaqualand, from
                                                        dumps to daisies. University of Cape
1.     Gibson, D., Paterson, G., Newby, T.,             Town, Monday Paper Vol 26#17:
       Laker, M. & Hoffman, T. 2006.                    Nov 12-25, page 1.
       Chapter 4: Land. In: Department of
       Environmental Affairs and Tourism.          6.   Williams, N.M. 2007. DME officials
       South African Environment Outlook.               visit     Namaqualand     Mines.
       A report on the state of the                     Namaqualand Mines Chronicle, May
       environment.        Department   of              – August 2007, p. 3.
       Environmental Affairs and Tourism,
       Pretoria. Pp. 87-105. ISBN 0-621-           7.   Yeld, J. 2007. Seeds of hope in
       36422-3.                                         Namaqualand. Cape Argus 27 Nov
                                                        2007, p. 14.
2.     Botha S.B., Kruger R. and Carrick
       P.J. 2007 Handleiding vir Ekologiese
       Restorasie. (Training manual for            Theses
       practical ecological restoration in the
       Namaqualand lowlands – produced             1.   Foxcroft, L. 2007.    Pattern and
       by the Namaqualand Restoration                   process of plant invasion in an
       Initiative).                                     African savanna ecosystem, with
                                                        emphasis on multiple spatial and
Popular articles                                        temporal scales. Unpublished PhD
                                                        thesis. University of Cape Town,
1.     Anonymous 2007. Rehabilitasie met                Cape Town. 198 pp + appendices.
       behulp van daisies. Die Plattelander             [Supervisors: Dave Richardson and
       2 Nov 2007, page 9.                              Timm Hoffman].

2.     Botha M.S., Kruger R. and Carrick           2.   Shiponeni, N. 2007. Spatio-temporal
       P.J. 2007. Replacing dumps with                  distribution of grass and shrubs at the
       daisies.   SKEP e-news letter,                   ecotone between an arid grassland
       (Succulent   Karoo     Ecosystem                 and succulent shrubland: ecological

                                                Plant Conservation Unit: Annual Report 2007

     interactions and the influence of            Plant Conservation at UCT is to be a
     soils.    Unpublished PhD thesis.            Trustee on the LHSKT. This work entails
     University of Cape Town, Cape                the attendance of Trust meetings (usually
     Town. 132 pp. [Supervisors: Nicky            two or three times a year) where strategic
     Allsopp, Timm Hoffman and Peter              decisions are made, together with the
     Carrick].                                    leading conservation agencies in the region
                                                  (e.g. Western Cape Nature Conservation
3.   Soares, M. 2007.     A model of a            Board, South African National Parks)
     rangeland grazing system within a            concerning the identification and possible
     management procedure approach                purchase of key conservation properties.
     framework.      Unpublished      BSc         These decisions need to be made in
     (Honours) thesis. University of Cape         accordance with the best biological
     Town, Cape Town.            26 pp.           information available. The development of
     [Supervisors: Eva Paglyani-Lloyd,            regional conservation plans and the review
     Dave     Richardson    and     Timm          of scoping studies all form part of the work
     Hoffman].                                    of the Trustee. In addition, visits to assess
                                                  the value of specific properties also need to
4.   Thomas,    A.  2007.        Using            be made and attendance at various opening
     Sporomiella to track herbivore               ceremonies, which commemorate and
     biomass within the Hluhluwe-                 acknowledge the work of the Trust, also
     Umfolozi      Game       Reserve.            form part of the Trustee’s duties.
     Unpublished BSc (Honours) thesis.
     University of Cape Town, Cape                The disbursement of significant financial
     Town. 39 pp. [Supervisor: Lindsey            resources to the Trust in 2004 following
     Gillson].                                    Mr Hill’s death in January 2003 has
                                                  increased the activities of the LHSKT
5.   Wigley, B. 2007.        Living in a          considerable. The focus of the Trust’s
     changing world: An integrated                work is primarily on the Knersvlakte
     approach to documenting and                  although other sites are also considered as
     understanding medium to long-term            priority areas. The primary work of the
     vegetation     changes     in    three       PCU has been to guide the development of
     contrasting land use systems in mesic        a strategic planning document for the
     savanna, Northern Zululand, South            LHSKT. Phil Desmet has played the
     Africa. Unpublished MSc thesis.              major role in this and his strategic plan has
     University of Cape Town, Cape                been accepted and presented. It is the
     Town.      146 pp.       [Supervisors:       guiding document used by the LHSKT in
     William Bond and Timm Hoffman].              their decision making process. Several
                                                  new properties have come under
                                                  consideration for purchase during the year
EXTENSION                                         under review and the LHSKT has added
                                                  significantly to the land holdings under
                                                  conservation.     A successful Letter of
Leslie Hill Succulent Karoo Trust
                                                  Inquiry was submitted to SKEP and CEPF
                                                  funding for the WWF sub-regional arid
The Leslie Hill Succulent Karoo Trust,
                                                  zone programme has allocated.            This
which is administered by WWF-SA, is
                                                  money will be used primarily to pay a
dedicated to the development of a network
                                                  facilitator to help in the acquisition of
of conservation areas to conserve the
                                                  conservation worthy properties identified
diversity of particularly the succulent flora
                                                  under the Desmet Strategic Plan for the
of the region. One of the responsibilities of
the person holding the Leslie Hill Chair of

                                              Plant Conservation Unit: Annual Report 2007

                                                Foxcroft L.C., Richardson D.M., Rouget
Scientific extension                            M. & MacFadyen S. 2007. Patterns of
                                                alien plant invasion in the Kruger National
CONFERENCES,          WORKSHOPS          &      Park, South Africa: perspectives from
SEMINARS                                        multiple spatial scales. Invited paper
                                                presented at the SA Weed Science Society/
Staff and students of the PCU attended 12       SA Weeds Biological Control combined
conferences (5 of them international) and       symposium, 4-9 June 2007, Natalia, South
23 workshops (five of which were                Africa.
organised by the PCU) and presented a
total of 29 papers and 2 posters at these       Foxcroft L.C., Rouget M. & Richardson
events with 4 delivered as invited keynote      D.M. 2007. Risk assessment of riparian
contributions.                                  alien plant invasion into protected areas.
                                                Paper presented at the Society for
                                                Conservation Biology Annual Conference,
CONFERENCE    AND            WORKSHOP           1-5 July 2007, Nelson Mandela
PRESENTATIONS                                   Metropolitan University, Port Elizabeth,
                                                South Africa. [Student Award Finalist.]
Carrick, P.J. 2007. Ecological standards
for rehabilitation – a plan for moving          Foxcroft L.C., Rouget M., Richardson
forward.       Paper presented at the           D.M. & MacFadyen S. 2007. Patterns of
Rehabilitation and Closure Master Plan          alien plant invasion in the Kruger National
workshop, 27 – 29 June 2007, Kleinzee,          Park, South Africa: perspectives from
South Africa.                                   multiple spatial scales. Paper presented at
                                                the 9th International Conference on the
Erasmus, R. 2007.       Monitoring for          Ecology and Management of Alien Plant
elephant impacts.   Paper presented at          Invasions, 17-21 September 2007, Perth,
workshop entitled “Managing elephants on        Australia.
small reserves”, 4 October 2007,
INDALA: Shamwari Game Reserve.                  Gallo, J. 2007. Engaged conservation
                                                planning and the landscape knowledge
Foxcroft L.C. & Rejmánek, M. 2007.              network: reconnecting society and nature
What helps Opuntia stricta invade Kruger        while conserving biodiversity.        Paper
National Park, South Africa: baboons or         presented at the Society for Conservation
elephants? Paper presented at the 5th           Biology Annual Conference, 1-5 July
Annual Science Networking Meeting of            2007, Nelson Mandela Metropolitan
Kruger National Park, 16th - 20th April         University, Port Elizabeth, South Africa.
2007, Skukuza, South Africa.
                                                Gillson, L & Ekblom, A. 2007.
Foxcroft L.C. & Richardson, D.M.R. 2007.        Untangling anthropogenic and climatic
Ornamental plants as invasive aliens:           influence on riverine forest in the Kruger
problems and solutions in the Kruger            National Park, South Africa.         Paper
National Park, South Africa. Paper              presented at the 5th Annual Science
presented at the 33rd Annual Conference         Networking Meeting of Kruger National
of the South African Association of             Park, 16th - 20th April 2007, Skukuza,
Botanists (SAAB), 14 - 18 January 2007,         South Africa.
Cape Town, South Africa. [Published
abstracts- South African Journal of Botany,     Gillson, L. 2007. A large infrequent
2007, doi:10.1016/j.sajb.2007.02.045].          disturbance in an East African Savanna.
                                                Paper presented at the 33rd Annual

                                              Plant Conservation Unit: Annual Report 2007

Conference of the South African                 points in Namaqualand. Poster presented at
Association of Botanists (SAAB), 14 - 18        the Arid Zone Ecology Forum (AZEF)
January 2007, Cape Town, South Africa.          annual meeting, 10-13 September 2007,
                                                Sutherland, South Africa.
Gillson, L.       2007.     The Kruger
Environments Project in the Kruger              Krug R, Swart, E. & Hoffman, M.T. 2007.
National Park. Invited paper presented at       Recruitment events in Aloe pillansii: From
the People Land and Time in Africa              growth rates to recruitment events. Paper
meeting, April 2007, Stockholm, Sweden.         presented at the German Botanical Society
                                                (Botanikertagung)      conference,      3-7
Gillson, L. & Duffin, K. 2007. Managing         September 2007, University of Hamburg,
African savannas for resilience: Thresholds     Hamburg, Germany.
of Potential Concern. Invited paper
presented at the Resilience, Realities and      Krug R, Swart, E. & Hoffman, M.T. 2007.
Research Workshop, June 2007, University        Recruitment events in Aloe pillansii: From
of Oxford, United Kingdom.                      growth rates to recruitment events. Paper
                                                presented at the Arid Zone Ecology Forum
Gillson, L. & Duffin, K. 2007. Thresholds       (AZEF),      11-13     September      2007,
of potential concern as benchmarks in the       Sutherland, South Africa.
management of African savannas. Paper
presented at the Society for Conservation       Naidoo, M., Hoffman, M.T., Allsopp, N.
Biology Annual Conference, 1-5 July             2007. Livestock Production in a semi-arid
2007, Nelson Mandela Metropolitan               Communal      Rangeland,      Paulshoek,
University, Port Elizabeth, South Africa.       Namaqualand. Paper presented at the Arid
                                                Zone Ecology Forum (AZEF), 11-13
Hoffman, M.T. 2007.           The Plant         September 2007, Sutherland, South Africa.
Conservation Unit. Poster presented at the
Mazda Wildlife Fund Conference, 13-15           Price, P. 2007. Sitting pretty in a marginal
March 2007, Dikhololo, South Africa.            land - Case Study of Buffelsrivier
                                                Community Garden. Paper presented at
Hoffman, M.T. & Carrick, P.J. 2007. Is          the International Final Workshop of the
the Karoo drying up? The incidence of           WADE project: Groundwater Recharge in
drought over the last 200 years and its         Ephemeral Rivers of Southern Africa:
impact on Karoo plants. Paper presented         Implications for Water Management, 27-
at the Arid Zone Ecology Forum (AZEF),          28 November, 2007, Cape Town, South
11-13 September 2007, Sutherland, South         Africa.
                                                Rohde, R.F. & Hoffman, M.T. 2007.
Hoffman, M.T. & Rohde, R.F. 2007. Land          Anthropogenic and climatic impacts on
use and climate change impacts in semi-         vegetation in relation to the hydrology of
arid South Africa: Interpreting the past,       the Buffels River during the last 200 years.
exploring the future. Invited keynote           Paper presented at the International Final
address presented at the German Botanical       Workshop of the WADE project:
Society (Botanikertagung) conference, 3-7       Groundwater Recharge in Ephemeral
September 2007, University of Hamburg,          Rivers of Southern Africa: Implications for
Hamburg, Germany.                               Water Management, 27-28 November,
                                                2007, Cape Town, South Africa.
Keromecwe, O., Zweni, A., Bontsi, M.,
Samuels, M.I., Allsopp, N. 2007. Impact of      Samuels, M.I., Allsopp, N., Hoffman, M.T.
livestock on vegetation around water            2007. Why and when do livestock keepers

                                              Plant Conservation Unit: Annual Report 2007

in Namaqualand move their herds? Paper          Hluhluwe area? Paper presented at the
presented at the Arid Zone Ecology Forum        Annual Conference of the Grassland
(AZEF) annual meeting, 10-13 September          Society of Southern Africa (GSSA), 16 –
2007, Sutherland, South Africa.                 20 July 2007, Grahamstown, South Africa.

Shiponeni, N., Vogel, M., Keil, M. &            Wigley B. 2007.        Investigating bush
Allsopp, N. 2007. Vegetation change at an       encroachment under contrasting land use
arid winter/summer rainfall ecotone:            practices in a mesic South African
application of Remote Sensing. Paper            savanna. Paper presented at the 5th Annual
presented at the Arid Zone Ecology Forum        Science Networking Meeting of Kruger
(AZEF),      11-13     September    2007,       National Park, 16th - 20th April 2007,
Sutherland, South Africa.           [This       Skukuza, South Africa.
presentation won a prize for the best
presentation by a young scientist.]
                                                CONFERENCES   ATTENDED               (NO
Shiponeni, N., Carrick, P. & Allsopp, N.        PRESENTATION)
2007. Competitive relationships between
grass and leaf succulent shrub at the           SASQUA XV11 Biennial Congress:
ecotone between arid grassland and              Understanding Environmental Change: the
succulent shrubland. Paper presented at the     contribution of Quaternary hindsight to
33rd Annual Conference of the South             future sustainability, 11-13 April 2007,
African Association of Botanists (SAAB),        Howick, South Africa. Attended by Lynne
14 - 18 January 2007, Cape Town, South          Quick.
                                                C.A.P.E. Conference, May 2007, Cape
Todd, S.W. & Hoffman, M.T. 2007. A              Town, South Africa. Attended by Amrei
fence-line in time: The Paulshoek fence         von Hase.
line ten years on. Paper presented at the
Arid Zone Ecology Forum (AZEF), 11-13           Nordic Geographers Meeting, 15-17 June
September, 200, Sutherland, South Africa.       2007, Bergen, Norway. Attended by Rick
                                                Rohde and paper presented on his Scottish
Von Hase, A. 2007. Vegetation mapping           Highlands research.
for conservation assessment – simple
expert vs complex modeling approach?            Conference of the Ecological Society of
Paper presented at the SANBI Biodiversity       Germany, Austria and Switzerland, 10-14
Forum, February 2007, Pilanesberg, South        September 2007, University of Marburg,
Africa.                                         Marburg, Germany. Attended by Rainer
Von Hase, A. and Kirkwood, D. 2007.
Conservation planning and implementation        DST-NRF C•I•B Annual Research
in the Cape Floristic Region: Assessing         Meeting,     15-16  November     2007,
progress and projecting ahead. Paper            Stellenbosch
presented at the Society for Conservation       University, South Africa. Attended by
Biology Annual Conference, 1-5 July             Llewellyn Foxcroft.
2007, Nelson Mandela Metropolitan
University, Port Elizabeth, South Africa.
                                                WORKSHOPS          ATTENDED         AND
Wigley, B. 2007. A few more trees? OR           ORGANISED
A shifting biome? Should we be worried
about the vegetation changes in the broader

                                               Plant Conservation Unit: Annual Report 2007

Repeat Photography as a Tool for                 Restoration Manager Training Courses,
Environmental Assessment: One day                Namaqualand Restoration Initiative, 2-4
workshop with field trip to form part of the     October, 2007, Koingnaas, South Africa.
33rd Annual Conference of the South              Organised       by     the     Namaqualand
African Association of Botanists (SAAB),         Restoration Initiative to train managers in
18 January 2007, Cape Town, South                the practice of restoration.
Africa. Organised and led by Timm
Hoffman, Rick Rohde, Lindsey Gillson,            Restoration Team Training Courses,
Zulaiga Worth, Daniela Bonora and Lynne          Namaqualand Restoration Initiative, 8-12
Quick.                                           October 2007, Koingnaas, South Africa.
                                                 Organised      by      the     Namaqualand
Scientific Advisory Workshop for the             Restoration Initiative to train selected
Namaqualand Restoration Initiative, 24           persons in the restoration techniques.
April 2007, University of Cape Town,
Cape Town, South Africa. Organised by            Working Group on Integrating the Social
the Namaqualand Restoration Initiative.          Sciences into Conservation Planning. 11-
                                                 12 October 2007, Cape Saint Francis,
Workshop on the extent of game farming           South Africa. Attended by John Gallo.
in the Western Cape hosted by the
Department of Agriculture, May 2007,             National Fixed Site Rangeland Monitoring
George. Attended by Ryno Erasmus.                Programme, ARC – Institute for Soil,
                                                 Climate and Water, 25 October 2007,
Rehabilitation and Closure Master Plan           Pretoria, South Africa. Attended by Simon
workshop, 27 – 29 June 2007, Kleinzee,           Todd.
South Africa. Attended by Peter Carrick.
                                                 Royal Society NRF workshop: Modelling
Working Group on Dynamic Conservation            and monitoring landscape response to
Planning, 1-3 July 2007, Cape Saint              changing climates and land degradation in
Francis, South Africa. Attended by John          the 21st century: the Aeolian dimension, 29
Gallo.                                           October – 2 November 2007, Department
                                                 of Environmental and Geographical
Renosterveld     Rapid     Assessment            Science, University of Cape Town, South
Workshop, Department of Agriculture, 23          Africa. Attended by Lynne Quick and
July 2007, Karoo National Botanical              Timm Hoffman.
Gardens in Worcester, South Africa.
Attended by Simon Todd.                          Biodiversity,         agriculture       and
                                                 environmental justice: a meeting to discuss
Kimberley Biodiversity Symposium, 25             and debate issues in interdisciplinary
September 2007, Kimberley. Attended by           research. As part of the project Agriculture
Elsabe Swart.                                    and sustainable development in the
                                                 problematics       of      "Evidence-Based
The Living Edge of Africa Design                 Policies", 5-6 November 2007, University
Charette,    16-21 September    2007,            of the Western Cape, South Africa.
Koingnaas, South Africa. Attended by             Attended by Timm Hoffman, Rick Rohde
Peter Carrick.                                   and Zulaiga Worth.

Gourtiz Biosphere Reserve workshop on            STRP/Presence               Baviaanskloof
feasibility of GBR, 2 October 2007,              rehabilitation workshop, 11-13 November
Oudtshoorn. Attended by Ryno Erasmus.            2007, Baviaanskloof, South Africa.
                                                 Attended by Peter Carrick.

                                               Plant Conservation Unit: Annual Report 2007

                                                 together of how to link our knowledge of
                                                 the past with current conservation practice.
SEMINARS                                         An understanding of long-term data about
                                                 the past is critical for the development of
Carrick, P.J., Kruger, R. & Botha S. 2007.       appropriate        future       management
The Namaqualand Restoration Initiative.          approaches.
Paper presented at the Kirstenbosch
Research Centre – Scientific Seminar             During 2007, staff of the PCU refereed 26
Series, April 2007, Kirstenbosch, Cape           papers for the following journals (number
Town, South Africa.                              in brackets refers to the number of articles
Hoffman, M.T., Carrick, P.J. and Krug, R.
2007. The impact of drought in the winter        African Journal of Ecology, African
rainfall region of southern Africa. Paper        Journal of Range and Forage Science,
presented as part of UCT Botany                  Biodiversity and Conservation, Biological
Department’s Seminar series. 26 June             Invasions, Diversity and Distributions,
2007, Cape Town, South Africa.                   Ecological Economics, Ecology and
                                                 Society, Environmental Science and
                                                 Policy, Evolution and Systematics, Journal
EDITORIAL, REVIEW & COMMITTEE                    of Applied Ecology, Journal of Arid
WORK                                             Environments       (4),    Journal      of
                                                 Biogeography, Journal of Ecology, Journal
Timm Hoffman is a member of the Editorial        of Environmental Management, Journal of
Board for the Journal of Arid Environments,      Vegetation Science, Landscape Ecology
Environmental Science Policy and African         (2), Oikos, Ostrich, Perspectives in Plant
Journal of Range and Forage Science.             Ecology, Plant Ecology, South African
Lindsey Gillson is a member of the Editorial     Journal of Botany (2).
Board for Landscape Ecology.
                                                 In addition to these publication reviews, 1
Together with Nicky Allsopp and Rick             MTech thesis, 7 MSc theses from South
Rohde, Timm Hoffman has edited a                 African universities and 1 PhD thesis from
special issue of Land use in Namaqualand         Stockholm University were examined by
for the Journal of Arid Environments. This       PCU staff in 2007.
collection of about 18 papers covers a wide
range of ecological and socio-economic           Staff of the PCU serve on a number of
issues in the region and is based on the         committees including:
proceedings      of    the    Namaqualand
                                                 •   South African       BIOTA      Steering
Colloquium held in Springbok, 24-26 May
2005. The special issue appeared in the
Journal of Arid Environments, September
                                                 •   Botanical Society Conservation Unit
2007 (Volume 70, Issue No. 4).
                                                     Advisory Committee;
Lindsey Gillson worked with colleagues
from Oxford University to complete a             •   Table Mountain Fund Board Member
special issue of the Philosophical                   Selection Advisory Committee.
Transactions of the Royal Society B series
(Volume 362) entitled: “Biodiversity
Hotspots through time: Using the past to         Community services
manage the future.” This collection of 14
papers brings a range of perspectives

                                              Plant Conservation Unit: Annual Report 2007

The PCU continues to engage with several        year primarily through our contribution to
communities in Namaqualand. The long-           the CEPF report. Rhoda Louw and Noel
term research programme at Paulshoek            Oettle published a set of guidelines to
continued in 2007.         Meetings with        inform the harvesting of wild Rooibos tea
members of the Paulshoek Development            in the region.
Forum rarely took place largely because
the PDF never convened during the course        Special mention should be made of the
of the year. Mr Samuel Cloete, a member         work of the Namaqualand Restoration
of the Paulshoek community continued his        Initiative. While the details are provided
field assistant’s work and assembled            elsewhere in this report the employment
monthly stock data for the 28 herds in the      and training of restoration teams has been
village. He was ably assisted by Mr             both an innovative and successful
Vonkie Claassen from the village. The           initiative. Peter Carrick, Sue Botha and
data base is now being used by Marla            Raldo Kruger have successfully used the
Naidoo, a PhD student at the PCU. In            results of a detailed research programme to
addition, Mr Claassen has been managing         inform a practical approach to the
the guest house in Paulshoek. With over         rehabilitation of old mining areas. They
279 bed nights since March 2007, the guest      have fully deserved the extensive coverage
house has raised more than R12,000.             which they have received in the local and
These funds are being used to pay taxes,        national press for this novel approach to
buy electricity and employ people in the        research.
village to clean, cook and maintain the
guest house. This initiative which is           Consultancy work
mainly supported by research tourism to
the village will also form part of a small,     Given the teaching, student supervision
on-going research project. Ms Mariana           and research responsibilities of staff at the
Lot, a paraecologist from Paulshoek             PCU, consultancies are not actively sought
continues to be employed and trained            by members of the unit.          No major
through the BIOTA programme. Her role           consultancies were carried out by PCU
is to assist researchers who work in the        staff in 2007.
village and surrounding commons and to
share with them her knowledge of the area.
Training courses in Namibia and South
Africa were maintained in 2007 and were
attended by Mariana. The contracts for the
two community assistants employed by the
WADE project ended in June 2007. Ms
Anna-Marie Boyce worked as a research
assistant in the community of Buffels
River while Ms Daferey Waldeck was her
counterpart in the village of Rooifontein.
Besides their research assistant roles,
Anna-Marie and Daferey provided an
important link between outside researchers
and community members in their
respective villages.

While our formal involvement in the
Rooibos tea project came to an end in 2006
we continued to play a role throughout the


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