People, environment and biodiversity

Community-based conservation: Intrinsic versus extrinsic values

Ingle, M (2006), Community-based conservation: Intrinsic versus extrinsic values, in New Contree, vol. 51: 115-131.   Introduction This article commences with an examination of the reasons for the enormous increase in areas under state protection worldwide, and proceeds to discover two incompatible value systems that inform this expansion. The tension between these value systems informs […]

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Desertification in the semi-arid Karoo, South Africa:

The concept of desertification has recently been re-evaluated with two major outcomes. Firstly, the term itself has been reviewed, with most authors concluding that the emotive implications of ‘desertification’ (i.e. advancing deserts per se) are inappropriate in many cases and that the general term ‘dryland degradation’ is a more accurate description of reality. Secondly, it […]

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Drivers and trajectories of social and ecological change in the Karoo, South Africa

This review article explores past, present and possible future drivers of change in Karoo social-ecological systems. Biogeographically, the Karoo comprises the arid Succulent Karoo and Nama-Karoo biomes covering significant portions of the Northern Cape, Eastern Cape and Western Cape provinces and a smaller part of the Free State. Despite the Karoo’s specific environment and spatial […]

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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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Future Ecosystem Services in a Southern African River Basin

Scenario planning is a promising tool for dealing with uncertainty, but it has been underutilized in ecology and conservation. The use of scenarios to explore ecological dynamics of alternative futures has been given a major boost by the recently completed Millennium Ecosystem Assessment, a 4-year initiative to investigate relationships between ecosystem services and human well-being […]


Gradients in vegetation cover, structure and species richness of Nama-Karoo shrublands…

1. Gradients of animal impact known as piospheres tend to develop around artificial watering points, particularly in arid zones. Such grazing gradients represent a potential opportunity for differentiating the long-term effects of livestock activity from other environmental patterns. In this study, the impact of watering point provision on the plant cover, species richness and community […]

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Historical changes in stocking rates of domestic livestock

In semi-arid and arid magisterial (administrative) districts (n = 45) in the Cape Province, South Africa, there has been a mean 44·4 ± 14·6% (S.D.) reduction in the stocking rates of domestic livestock over the period 1911-81. In five savanna districts there has been a mean 36·8 ± 8·5% increase in stocking rate. For all […]


Interactions of grazing and rainfall on vegetation at Grootfontein in the eastern Karoo

Rainfall and grazing are primary drivers of vegetation composition in the Nama-Karoo. Increased rainfall increases grassiness, to where Nama-Karoo transitions to grassland. Severe grazing treatments (e.g. continuous or summer-only) increase abundance of grazing-tolerant dwarf shrubs and annual grasses, and decrease perennial grasses. Grootfontein, which is ecotonal between the Nama-Karoo and Grassland Biomes, houses long-term grazing […]

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Introduction to the Karoo Special Issue: Trajectories of Change in the Anthropocene

The Karoo is an arid to semi-arid area across the western third of South Africa, comprising the Succulent Karoo and Nama-Karoo biomes. Its environment and people have experienced considerable changes, and now face new challenges as the Anthropocene unfolds. This Karoo Special Issue (KSI) brings together new information in 20 papers, a mixture of reviews, […]

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Karoo and West Coast Biodiversity Corridors

The purpose of the SANParks Rural Development Programme and its two pilots – the West Coast Biodiversity and Karoo Corridor Initiatives – was to demonstrate the potential of conservation as an instrument of rural development. The programme was funded by the Green Fund for a two-year period between June 2013 and May 2015, and supported […]

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