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Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/10204/1497

Title: Comparison of plant diversity in protected and communal lands in the Bushbuckridge lowveld savanna, South Africa
Authors: Shackleton, CM
Keywords: Plant species richness
Beta diversity
Catchment management plan
Issue Date: Jul-2000
Publisher: Elsevier Science Ltd
Citation: Shackleton, CM. 2000. Comparison of plant diversity in protected and communal lands in the Bushbuckridge lowveld savanna, South Africa. Biological Conservation, vol. 94(3), pp 273-285
Abstract: Patterns of higher plant species richness and beta diversity were assessed using standard Modified-Whittaker plots in relation to land use, slope position and mean annual rainfall across a rainfall gradient in the savanna areas of the Bushbuckridge lowveld, South Africa. In particular, comparison of communal areas with adjacent protected areas was important in showing the impacts of potential changes in land use within an overarching catchment management plan. Although most of the protected areas considered preservation of biodiversity as their primary goal, they were characterised by significantly fewer plant species than the adjacent, highly utilised, communal lands, at both the plot and point scale. Slope position also had a significant effect on plant species richness, with eutrophic bottomlands having c. 30% more species than the dystrophic toplands. This adds weight to the need for greater public awareness for the judicious use and management of the sensitive bottomlands, which fringe the primary drainage lines that are vital for sustained supplies of good quality surface water in this semi-arid environment. The total number of species increased with increasing mean annual rainfall across the rainfall gradient. This suggests that, if the catchment management plan aims to identify additional areas for conservation, the higher rainfall areas should be the first to be assessed. Species turnover was greater along the rainfall gradient than the catenal gradient between toplands and bottomlands.
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10204/1497
ISSN: 0006-3207
Appears in Collections:Ecosystems processes & dynamics
General science, engineering & technology

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