Abstract:

Impact of invasive and indigenous vegetation cover on epigaeic invertebrate assemblages in Luchaba Nature Reserve (LNN), King Sabata Dalindyebo (KSD) Municipality, Eastern Cape, South Africa

SP Mafereka , AS Niba

Department of Biological Sciences, Walter Sisulu University, Private Bag X1, Nelson Mandela Drive, Mthatha 5117, Eastern Cape, South Africa

The loss of biodiversity due to alien plant invasions has become a public concern globally, but less attention is being directed at them locally. The overall objective of this study was to assess the impact of invasive and indigenous plant species on native invertebrate assemblages in LNN. A total of 335 invertebrate individuals in 11 orders, seven families, 10 species and 15 morphospecies were sampled from four a-priori selected sites in LNN during five sampling occasions in March and Aril 2009 using pitfall traps. Invertebrate population counts showed statistically significant differences (P<0.01) across site. The site dominated by Eucalyptus (EU) trees supported the smallest number of faunal species and individual compared to the other three sites while the Mixed alien (MA) site attracted the highest number of invertebrate families, species and individuals compared to the other sites. Even though the indigenous vegetation sites harboured a rich diversity of taxa that were unique to these sites, the implications of these results suggested that the impact of invasive plants on local invertebrate biodiversity does not necessarily have to be negative. The Luchaba Nature Reserve management should consider eradicating invasive alien plants within the reserve in order to preserve indigenous floral diversity and the invertebrate fauna associated with it. Furthermore, the reserve can be used as a node for raising public awareness (through education) of the need to conserve indigenous biodiversity at a local spatial scale.

Presentation Topic

Impact of invasive and indigenous vegetation cover on epigaeic invertebrate assemblages in Luchaba Nature Reserve (LNN), King Sabata Dalindyebo (KSD) Municipality, Eastern Cape, South Africa

 

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Department of Biological Sciences, Walter Sisulu University

 

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