Author Archives: Adri

Big fish in small ponds: Changing stratification and inequalities in small towns in the Karoo region, South Africa

Chapter in a book. The chapter is available from the author at

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Reflections on the Karoo Special Issue: towards an interdisciplinary research agenda for South Africa’s drylands

We begin this essay with reflections on major research themes highlighted by the Karoo Special Issue (KSI). These include concerns over land-use change, long-term monitoring, climate change, governance and the need for more interdisciplinary research. We also identify some of the novel contributions of the KSI around these themes and highlight research issues that require […]

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Response of arthropod communities to plant-community rehabilitation efforts after strip mining on the semi-arid west coast of South Africa

Strip mining in arid ecosystems causes extreme ecological destruction that may take decades to recover. The present study examined the effect of different plant-community rehabilitation treatments on arthropods after strip mining in the arid Namaqualand region of South Africa. Vegetation cover and plant species richness were significantly lower at all rehabilitated sites compared with those […]

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Assessing the success of experimental rehabilitation on a coastal mineral sands mine in Namaqualand, South Africa

The success of different rehabilitation treatments following surface mining on the arid west coast of South Africa was assessed. Treatments consisting of one or a combination of topsoil addition, plant translocation and seeding were applied to experimental rehabilitation sites in 2001, while the treatment of another site in 2008 combined all three techniques. Vegetation and […]

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The composition of the soil seedbank and its role in ecosystem dynamics and rehabilitation potential in the arid Tankwa Karoo Region, South Africa

Very few soil seedbank studies have been conducted in South Africa, especially in arid rangelands. Insight into the soil seedbank could therefore improve assessment of rangeland dynamics and enhance rehabilitation efforts. This study aimed to characterise the soil seedbanks in various vegetation types of the Tankwa Karoo National Park, an arid environment in South Africa. […]

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Biological soil crusts of the Succulent Karoo: a review

The Succulent Karoo is characterised by a dense coverage of biological soil crusts (biocrusts) belonging to different types and successional stages. Whereas the Soebatsfontein region hosts cyanobacteria-dominated and minor amounts of lichen- and bryophyte-dominated biocrusts, the Knersvlakte comprises a rich cover of hypolithic crusts growing on the sides and undersides of quartz pebbles. Apart from […]

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Variation in mammal species richness and relative abundance in the Karoo

Understanding how climate change and land transformation may impact the distribution and diversity of wildlife species requires landscape-level foundational biodiversity surveys. The Karoo BioGaps Project aims to provide such data and to support the scientific assessment for shale gas development projects in the Karoo basin. In this paper we present the findings of the BioGaps […]

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Web spider abundance is affected by sheep farming in the Karoo

Impacts of livestock farming include effects on arthropods and a range of related ecological processes. Grazing by sheep may indirectly affect web spider populations by changing vegetation structures available for web construction, or directly by trampling the spiders or their webs. We tested these two potential impacts by surveying spiders along transects and found that […]

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Effects of short-term intensive trampling on Karoo vegetation

Plant growth forms likely respond differently to disturbances such as trampling. We investigated the trampling effect of 1 600 sheep encamped at night in temporary enclosures (kraals, corrals or pens), which were relocated weekly. To examine trampling effects and regeneration rates of the various growth forms we compared vegeta- tion composition, canopy cover and foliar […]

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Vegetation responses to seasonal weather conditions and decreasing grazing pressure in the arid Succulent Karoo of South Africa

The Succulent Karoo biome is a renowned centre of biodiversity and endemism in the arid winter rainfall region of South Africa that is threatened by climate change. On 20 permanently marked plots within a biodiversity observatory, species richness and cover were assessed annually from 2002 to 2017 during the growing season. We were interested, firstly, […]

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