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University of Cape Town

1. Vorster, Liesl. Current status and impact (2004-2015) of indigenous ungulate herbivory on the vegetation of Sanbona Wildlife Reserve in the Little Karoo.

Degree: MSc, Plant Conservation Unit (PCU), 2017, University of Cape Town

Game farming is becoming more popular in southern Africa and the introduction of large indigenous ungulates into confined enclosed areas could alter plant communities and ecosystem processes. This is of particular concern in semi-arid rangelands of the Succulent Karoo where the evolutionary history of grazing is not clear and the compatibility of large herbivores in confined areas remains to be demonstrated. The establishment of Sanbona Wildlife Reserve, a 54 000 hectare private game reserve in the Little Karoo, which converted from livestock farming to game farming, allows an opportunity to study the vegetation dynamics in a confined plant-herbivore system. This study investigates the current community structure and the changes in the floral composition and vegetation structure of enclosed and comparable sites subjected to grazing by large herbivores after twelve years (2004-2015). It also determines the relative effect of grazing and rainfall on the observed patterns. Finally, the implications of these findings for management are discussed. Data from drop-point surveys in fenced (exclosure) and unfenced (grazed) plots in the dominant vegetation types as well as annual and seasonal rainfall totals, stocking rates of herbivores and annual game census information, were analysed. These were used in multivariate ordination techniques, regressions and linear mixed-effects models to determine the communities and their relationship with herbivory and rainfall over time and identify a set of indicator species. The annual game census information was used to determine areas of herbivore preference or 'hotspots' and for the identification of highly-utilised areas. Cluster analysis, using the flexible beta method in PC-Ord, was used to determine the current plant communities. Non-metric multidimensional scaling ordination (NMS) was used to determine the relationship of these communities with the environmental variables and illustrate the trajectories in floristic data. Species were also assigned to plant growth forms and examined as communities and growth form types. The Bray-Curtis distance measures were used to investigate the difference between each treatment over time, within each vegetation community and between treatments. Finally, the effects of rainfall and herbivory were examined using linear mixed-effects models of change over time vs the various potential determinants of change using lmer functions in R. Four communities were identified. These communities corresponded well with to the vegetation type descriptions for Western Little Karoo, Little Karoo Quartz Vygieveld and Renosterveld as described in the National Vegetation Map of Mucina and Rutherford (2006). However, the Western Little Karoo was too broad and two communities were recognised within this vegetation type. The finer scale mapping by Vlok et al. (2005) corresponded relatively well to these communities. Results showed an increase in species richness, abundance and cover over time, with the ungrazed plots experiencing more change than the plots exposed to… Advisors/Committee Members: Todd, Simon W, Hoffmann, Timm.

Subjects/Keywords: Plant Conservation; Ecological Conservation

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APA · Chicago · MLA · Vancouver · CSE | Export to Zotero / EndNote / Reference Manager

APA (6th Edition):

Vorster, L. (2017). Current status and impact (2004-2015) of indigenous ungulate herbivory on the vegetation of Sanbona Wildlife Reserve in the Little Karoo. (Masters Thesis). University of Cape Town. Retrieved from http://hdl.handle.net/11427/25523

Chicago Manual of Style (16th Edition):

Vorster, Liesl. “Current status and impact (2004-2015) of indigenous ungulate herbivory on the vegetation of Sanbona Wildlife Reserve in the Little Karoo.” 2017. Masters Thesis, University of Cape Town. Accessed October 23, 2017. http://hdl.handle.net/11427/25523.

MLA Handbook (7th Edition):

Vorster, Liesl. “Current status and impact (2004-2015) of indigenous ungulate herbivory on the vegetation of Sanbona Wildlife Reserve in the Little Karoo.” 2017. Web. 23 Oct 2017.

Vancouver:

Vorster L. Current status and impact (2004-2015) of indigenous ungulate herbivory on the vegetation of Sanbona Wildlife Reserve in the Little Karoo. [Internet] [Masters thesis]. University of Cape Town; 2017. [cited 2017 Oct 23]. Available from: http://hdl.handle.net/11427/25523.

Council of Science Editors:

Vorster L. Current status and impact (2004-2015) of indigenous ungulate herbivory on the vegetation of Sanbona Wildlife Reserve in the Little Karoo. [Masters Thesis]. University of Cape Town; 2017. Available from: http://hdl.handle.net/11427/25523

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