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Stellenbosch University (2015)

Mapping spatial requirements of ecological processes to aid in the implementation of corridors

Mugwena, Thendo

Titre : Mapping spatial requirements of ecological processes to aid in the implementation of corridors

Auteur : Mugwena, Thendo

Université de soutenance : Stellenbosch University

Grade : Master of Science (MS) 2015

Résumé
The ultimate goal of conservation planning is to ensure persistence of biodiversity. Biodiversity patterns and ecological processes are important aspects in conserving biodiversity. Although most researchers in conservation planning have focused on targeting biodiversity patterns, ecological and evolutionary processes can ensure persistence of biodiversity if incorporated into conservation planning. Ecological processes are the main drivers or sustainers of biodiversity. The aim of this research was to identify and map the spatial components of ecological processes in a portion of the Kavango Zambezi Transfrontier Conservation Area to aid in the implementation of biota movement corridors. Different methods have been used to identify suitable corridors but not much has been done on defining and mapping ecological processes that will ensure that the corridors maintain and generate biodiversity. A thorough literature survey was done to make a list of ecological processes that are important in maintaining the biodiversity in the area. Spatial components of ecological processes were mapped as surface elements aligned along linear environmental interfaces or gradients. The last part of the research was to suggest suitable movement corridors based on ecological processes. The results include five spatial components : riverine corridors, areas of high carbon sequestration, edaphic interfaces, upland-lowland interfaces and ecotones. Riverine corridors were mapped using a 1000 m buffer on either side of low lying rivers and 500 m buffer around rivers in the uplands. A map showing the carbon sequestration potential of vegetation in the study area was made using Moderate-Resolution Image Spectroradiometer (MODIS) derived NDVI data and the National Level Carbon Stock dataset done by the Woods Hole Research Center (WHRC) Pantropical. Edaphic interfaces were idenfied using by a 250 m buffer around contrasting soil types. Upland-lowland interfaces identified by a 250 m buffer along upland and lowland habitats. Classification of Landsat 8 was used to identify ecotones in the study area. The results of the spatial components were then compared with the habitat transformation map which shows populated areas.

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Page publiée le 14 janvier 2016, mise à jour le 13 juin 2018