MEASURING BIODIVERSITY CHANGES IN RESPONSE TO LIVESTOCK GRAZING IN BIODIVERSITY STEWARDSHIP SITES

 

Greg Martindale, Tamara Hiltunen, Isabel Johnson and Gareth Boothway

Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife, Botanical Society of South Africa, Midlands Conservancies Forum

 

Abstract:

Many Biodiversity Stewardship Sites, including those declared as nature reserves in terms of the Protected Areas Act, are subject to cattle grazing.Although a large body of scientific knowledge exists around veld management aligned with animal production, there is little scientific understanding of the drivers of biodiversity loss associated with livestock grazing, particularly in mesic grasslands.As this is a critical issue for many Biodiversity Stewardship Sites, efforts are being made to establish a monitoring programme to determine the effects of cattle grazing at Biodiversity Stewardship Sites. The primary objectives of the cattle grazing monitoring programme are:
 To determine whether plant diversity is being maintained or lost in Biodiversity Stewardship Sites, subject to cattle grazing.
 To determine if more fundamental questions such as the drivers of biodiversity loss, may be answered through such a monitoring programme.
The monitoring programme is being developed and implemented by the Biodiversity Stewardship Unit of Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife and NGO partners. The advantage of linking the monitoring programme to the Biodiversity Stewardship Programme provides the opportunity to develop a long-term reliable dataset, as an on-going relationship exists with the sites in which management interventions around livestock grazing can be carefully observed and recorded. It is intended that biodiversity monitoring will be undertaken in the same locations in which veld condition assessments are undertaken at the Biodiversity Stewardship Sites, as this will enable comparisons to be made between veld condition for animal production and biodiversity condition.Efforts are being made to partner with tertiary institutions and others in an effort to develop a dataset that can be applied to answer meaningful scientific questions around the impact of livestock grazing on grassland biodiversity.

 

Presentation Topic
MEASURING BIODIVERSITY CHANGES IN RESPONSE TO LIVESTOCK GRAZING IN BIODIVERSITY STEWARDSHIP SITES
Contact Mr Martindale:
Email Greg Martindale