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Accueil du site → Master → Afrique du Sud → 1995 → The effects of sheep grazing on the recovery of succulent Karoo vegetation.

University of KwaZulu-Natal (1995)

The effects of sheep grazing on the recovery of succulent Karoo vegetation.

Ross, Jonathan Anthony Genge

Titre : The effects of sheep grazing on the recovery of succulent Karoo vegetation.

Auteur : Ross, Jonathan Anthony Genge.

Université de soutenance : University of KwaZulu-Natal

Grade : Master of Science (MS) 1995

Résumé partiel
Vegetation monitoring, recording the recovery or change in plant cover over time, for several Karoo shrubs was undertaken to evaluate the Savory Grazing System on a farm in the Succulent Karoo. This evaluation was quantified by establishing if the proposed 120- day rest period between grazing events was sufficiently long enough for complete recovery of the vegetation. Complete recovery was described as sufficient regrowth after a grazing event so that continual cover loss would not result over time. Optimum resting periods would ensure that cover loss, due to grazing, could be recovered so that plant size and reproductive potential was not detrimentally affected. The ellipse intercept method was used to sample piospheres (or zones of attenuating animal impact) around water points in two vegetation types. From these results, 320 line transects for vegetation monitoring were located between 140 and 180m from the water points. One and a half year old piospheres of one farm were compared to seventeen year old piospheres on another farm with similar vegetation composition. The piospheres on the younger farm were expanding at an approximate linear rate of 80m per year, however, this rate slows considerably, as was found on the farm with older piospheres. Stability or equilibrium appears to be reached at approximately 320m from the water point in the older system. The line transects were used to record the change in cover of palatable and unpalatable Karoo shrubs on a monthly basis over an 18 month period. In all instances it was concluded that the proposed 120-day rest period was not sufficiently long enough for complete recovery of the vegetation. The highly palatable species, especially Osteospermum sinuatum and Tetragonia spp., were the most heavily utilized and detrimentally affected. Larger individuals of the palatable shrubs O. sinuatum and Tetragonia spp. were more severely grazed than smaller individuals as a result of smaller individuals utilising spiny nurse plants under which to establish. If the present rest period is continued the result could be overgrazing and local extinction of these important fodder species.

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