Research and monitoring

The amount of formal and published research that has been conducted in the GCBR region in recent years is growing (Cowling, pers. com. 2010, and see Table below). However, in spite of this wealth of accumulated knowledge, what has been lacking is a coordinating function to bring these efforts and their products together. As a consequence, there is no single database or even a comprehensive list of all the published work that has been undertaken. The GCBR has a vital role to play in this regard, and would undertake as a matter of priority a project to compile such a database. For copies of some of the research papers, please visit the Scientific Reports part of the website.

In the Klein Karoo sectors of the GCBR domain, a network of researchers from national and international universities and institutions came together in 2005 to form the Klein Karoo Study Group, with the aim of developing knowledge, understanding and support for the promotion of sustainable development based on ecosystem services in the Klein Karoo. The existing GCBR Forum is also a structure in which information dissemination takes place among researchers and practitioners in the wider domain.[1] These pre-existing networks offer a clear foundation on which to build a logistic support function for the Gouritz Cluster Biosphere Reserve (Pasquini, 2008).

Table: Research related to the Gouritz Cluster Biosphere Reserve region

PROJECT/TOPIC AUTHORS/RESEARCHERS INSTITUTION(S) FORMAT DATE
Fire As an Engineering Tool of Early Modern Humans Brown K.S., Marean C.W., Herries A.I. R., Jacobs Z., Tribolo C., Braun D., Roberts D.L., Meyer M.C. & Bernatchez J. Institute of Human Evolution, Univ of Arizona Science 325, 859 (publication) 2009
Assessment of environmental impacts of groundwater abstraction from Table Mountain Group (TMG) aquifers on ecosystems in the Kammanassie Nature Reserve and Environs. Cleaver G., Brown L.R. & Bredenkamp G.J. UNISA, University of Pretoria Water Research Commission Report No 1115/1/03. 2003
The management of extralimital giraffe (Giraffa camelopardalis) in the mosaic thicket of the Southern Cape, South Africa Cornelius A.J. NMMU M.Tech. Thesis 2010
An operational model for mainstreaming ecosystem services for implementation. Cowling R. M., Egoh B., Knight A.T., O’Farrell P.J., Reyers B., Rouget M., Roux D., Welz A. & Wilhelm-Rechman A. NMMU; CSIR Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 105(28):9483–9488. (publication) 2008
A conservation assessment for the Subtropical Thicket Biome. Cowling R.M., Lombard A.T., Rouget M., Kerley G.I.H., Wolf T., Sims-Castley R., Knight A., Vlok J.H.J., Pierce S.M., Boshoff A.F. & Wilson S.L. Terrestrial Ecology Research Unit, University of Port Elizabeth. STEP Project Report. 2003
A conservation plan for a global biodiversity hotspot – the Cape Floristic Region, South Africa. Cowling R.M., Pressey R.L., Rouget M. & Lombard A.T. University of Cape Town Biological Conservation 112:191-216. (publication) 2003
Assessment of veld utilisation practices and veld condition in the Little Karoo. Cupido C. University of Stellenbosch MSc thesis 2005
Holocene floodplain formation in the southern Cape region, South Africa. Damm B. & Hagedorn J. University of Regensburg & University of Göttingen, Germany Geomorphology 122 : 213–222. (publication) 2010
An Evaluation of Touwsfontein, Anysberg Nature Reserve In Relation to the Reintroduction of the Black Rhinoceros. De Boer W. University of Glamorgan B.Sc. (Honns) Dissertation 2011
Baited remote underwater video survey of reef fish in the Stilbaai marine protected area, with an assessment of monitoring requirements. De Vos L. University of Cape Town MSc thesis 2012
A Strategic Land Acquisition Policy for the Leslie Hill Succulent Karoo Trust (ZA1415). Desmet P.G. Private consultant Report for the Leslie Hill Succulent Karoo Trust (WWF), Stellenbosch. 2006
Succulent Karoo Ecosystem Plan, Biodiversity Component. Driver A., Desmet P., Rouget M., Cowling R. & Maze K. Botanical Society of South Africa SKEP Report 2003
The National Spatial Biodiversity Assessment. Priorities for biodiversity conservation in South Africa. Driver A., Maze K., Rouget M., Lombard A.T., Nel J., Turpie J.K., Cowling R.M., Desmet P., Goodman P., Harris J., Jonas Z., Reyers B., Sink K. & Strauss T. Botanical Society of South Africa, NMMU, CSIR Strelitzia 17. SANBI. (publication) 2004
Mapping ecosystem services for planning and management. Egoh B., Reyers B., Rouget M., Richardson D.M. & van Jaarsveld A.S. CSIR Agriculture, Ecosystems and Environment 127:135–140. (publication) 2008
Safeguarding biodiversity
and ecosystem services in the Little Karoo, South
Africa.
Egoh B.E., Reyers B., Carwardine J., Bode M., O’Farrell P.J., Wilson K.A., Possingham H.P., Rouget M., de Lange W., Richardson D.M. & Cowling R.M. CSIR; NMMU; University of Stellenbosch Conservation Biology 24(4):1021-1030. (puyblication) 2010
Karoo veld ecology and management. Esler K.J., Milton S.J. & Dean WRJ (Eds). University of Stellenbosch Book 2006
An investigation into factors influencing spatial use of the landscape by indigenous herbivores in the Little Karoo, South Africa. Farmer H. University of Cape Town MSc Thesis 2005
Retention and restoration of the biodiversity of the Little Karoo. Forsyth G., Vlok J. & Reyers B. CSIR, Regalis Environmental Services CSIR Report 2008
Increasing the impact of systematic conservation planning: some suggestions, a decision support system framework, and a precursory model. Gallo J.A., Lombard A.T. & Cowling R.M. NMMU Conservation Biology. 2010
The role of private conservation areas in biodiversity representation and target achievement within the Little Karoo region, South Africa. Gallo J.A., Pasquini L., Reyers B. & Cowling R.M. NMMU; CSIR Biological Conservation 142:446–454. (publication) 2009
What attracts tourists to the Little Karoo? Gelderblom C. CSIR Technical Report, Nov 2006 2006
The financial costs of ecologically nonsustainable farming practices in a semiarid system. Herling M.C., Cupido C.F., O’Farrell P.J. & Du Plessis L. CSIR; Dept of Agriculture: Western Cape Restoration Ecology 17 (6):827-836. (publication) 2009
Aquatic ecosystems of the Riversdale Coastal Plain planning domain. Job N., Snaddon C.D., Nel J., Smith-Adao L. & Day L.   C.A.P.E. Fine-scale Planning Project Report and Map 2008
A Guideline for the Formation and Initiation of a Biosphere Reserve for the Klein Karoo. Joseph G. Consulting Conservation Biologist Report 2008
Landscape fragmentation in South Coast Renosterveld, South Africa, in relation to rainfall and topography. Kemper J., Cowling R.M., Richardson D.M., Forsyth G.G. & McKelly  D.H. University of Cape Town; CSIR Austral Ecology 25, 179–186. (publication) 2000
The megaconservancy network concept. Keeping people on the land in living landscapes. Knight A.T. & Cowling R.M. Terrestrial Ecology Research Unit,  University of Port Elizabeth Report No. 45. 2003
The flora of the Bontebok National Park in regional perspective. Kraaij T. SANParks South African Journal of Botany (publication) 2011
Habitat selection by large herbivores in relation to fire at the Bontebok National Park (1974-2009): the effects of management change. Kraaij T. and Novellie P. A. SANParks African Journal of Range & Forage Science, 27:
1, 21 — 27. (publication)
2010
Social–ecological resilience in a dry environment: people and water resources in the Little Karoo. Le Maitre D. C. & O’Farrell P.J. CSIR; University of Stellenbosch M. Burns and A. Weaver, editors. Exploring sustainability science—a Southern African perspective. Sun Media, Stellenbosch. (chapter in book) 2008
Assessment and Evaluation of Ecosystem Services in the Succulent Karoo Biome Le Maitre D., O’Farrell P., Milton S., Atkinson D., De Lange W., Egoh B., Reyers B., Colvin C., Maherry A. & Blignaut J. CSIR SKEP Report 2009
Linking ecosystem services and water resources: landscape-scale hydrology of the Little Karoo. Le Maitre D.C., Milton S.J., Jarmain C., Colvin C.A., Saayman I. & Vlok J.H.J. CSIR, University of Stellenbosch, Regalis Environmental Services Frontiers in Ecology and the
Environment 5:261–270. (publication)
2007
Water resources in the Klein Karoo: the challenge of sustainable development in a water-scarce area. Le Maitre, D. C., Colvin, C. & Maherry, A. CSIR South African Journal of Science 105: 39-48. (publication) 2009
Designing conservation corridors in production landscapes: assessment methods, implementation issues, and lessons learned. Lombard A.T., Cowling R.M., Vlok J.H.J. & Fabricius C. NMMU Ecology and Society 15(3): 7. (publication) 2010
GIS coverages and spatial analyses for the Subtropical Thicket Ecosystem Planning (STEP) Project. Lombard A.T., Wolf T. & Cole N.  Terrestrial Ecology Research Unit, University of Port Elizabeth. STEP TERU Report 42. 2003
GIS Specialist Services, Gouritz Initiative (GI). Lombard A.T., Wolf T. & Strauss T. Private consultants CEPF funded report prepared for Cape Nature 2004
Rate of carbon sequestration at two thicket restoration sites in the Eastern Cape, South Africa. Mills A. J. & Cowling R.M. University of Stellenbosch; NMMU Restoration Ecology 14:38–49. (publication) 2006
Effects of goat pastoralism on ecosystem carbon storage in semiarid thicket, Eastern Cape, South Africa. Mills A.J., Cowling R.M., Fey M.V., Kerley G.I.H., Donaldson J.S., Lechmere-Oertel R.G., Sigwela A.M., Skowno A.L. & Rundel P. University of Stellenbosch; NMMU; University of California, Los Angeles Austral Ecology 30:797-804. (publication) 2005
Assessing Costs, Benefits, and Feasibility of
Restoring Natural Capital in Subtropical
Thicket in South Africa.
Mills A.J., Turpie J.K., Cowling R.M., Marais C., Kerley G.I.H., Lechmere-Oertel R.G., Sigwela A.M. & Powell M. University of Stellenbosch; NMMU; Rhodes University Chapter in Book 2007
Road-verge Vegetation Management Guidelines for Eden District Municipality – Balancing road safety, infrastructure maintenance and biodiversity conservation in roadside vegetation management. Milton-Dean S.J. RENU-KAROO Rehabilitation CC. Guidelines Report 2011
Protected Area Expansion Strategy: Spatial assessment of river priorities. Final Report. Nel J.L., Reyers B., Van Deventer H. & Smith-Adao L. CSIR CSIR Report 2007
Applying a resilience framework in the pursuit of sustainable land-use development in the Little Karoo, South Africa. O’Farrell P. J., Le Maitre D.C., Gelderblom C., Bonora D., Hoffman T. & Reyers B. CSIR; University of Stellenbosch M. Burns and A. Weaver, editors. Exploring sustainability science—a Southern African perspective. Sun Media, Stellenbosch. (chapter in book) 2008
Assessing the suitability and feasibility of implementing a Biosphere Reserve in the Gouritz Initiative domain. Pasquini L. Private Consultant CEPF funded report 2008
Privately –owned lands and biodiversity conservation: analysing the role of Private Conservation Areas in the Little Karoo, South Africa. Pasquini L. University of Sheffield; NMMU Post-Doc Thesis 2007
C.A.P.E. Fine-Scale Systematic Conservation Planning Assessment: Technical Report.
Biodiversity Planning Project. Cape Town, South Africa.
Pence G.Q.K. Private consultant C.A.P.E. Fine-scale Planning Project Report and Map 2008
Alarming plant dieback in the Outeniquas – Is this an indication of global warming? Rebelo T., Le Maitre D., Schutte-Vlok A., Smart M., Vlok J., West A., Williams G. and others SANBI, CapeNature, Dept of Water Affairs, University of Cape Town Veld and Flora (2009): 38-39. (publication) 2009
Ecosystem services, land-cover change, and stakeholders: finding a sustainable foothold for a semiarid biodiversity hotspot. Reyers B., O’Farrell P.J., Cowling R.M., Egoh B.N., Le Maitre D.C. & Vlok J.H.J. CSIR; NMMU Ecology and Society 14(1): 38. (publication) 2009
Getting the biodiversity intactness index right: the importance of habitat degradation data. Rouget M., Cowling R.M, Vlok J.H.J., Thompson M. & Balmford A. GeoTerra Image (Pty)Ltd.; NMMU; Regalis Environmental Services Global Change Biology 12:2032–2036. (publication) 2006
Klein Karoo Centre – A centre for cultural and biological research and interpretation at Groenefontein Nature Reserve Near Calitzdorp, Western Cape. Feasibility Study. Rust R. & Grant D. Private Consultants SKEPPIES funded Report 2010
 Biodiversity Assessment of the Kannaland and Oudtshoorn Local Municipalities, and Eden District Management Area (Uniondale). Skowno A.L., Holness S.D. & Desmet P.G. ECOSOL GIS and private consultants Dept of Environmental Affairs & Development Planning Report and Map 2010
Surface freshwater ecosystems. Methodology Report. Snaddon C.D., Job N., Nel J., Smith-Adao L. & Day L.   C.A.P.E. Fine-scale Planning Project Report. 2008
Land cover classifications from SPOT 5 satellite imagery. End Users Summary Report and Metadata. Thompson M. GeoTerraImage (GTI) Pty Lty C.A.P.E. Fine-scale Planning Project Report. 2007
Mapping land transformation in a heterogeneous environment: a rapid and cost effective approach for assessment and monitoring. Thompson M., Vlok J.H.J., Rouget M., Hoffman M.T., Balmford A. & Cowling R.M. GeoTerra Image (Pty)Ltd.; NMMU; Regalis Environmental Services; UCT Journal of Environmental Management (publication) 2008
Ecological capacity of the Little Karoo  for larger wildlife – Matching game species to habitat and recommended densities. Vlok J.H.J. & Coetzee K. Regalis Environmental Services and Conservation Management Services CEPF Funded Report 2008
Vegetation map for the Riversdale domain. Vlok J.H.J. & de Villiers M.E. Regalis Environmental Services, CapeNature C.A.P.E. Fine-scale Planning Project Report and Map 2007
The patterns within, and the ecological processes that sustain, the subtropical thicket vegetation in the planning domain for the Subtropical Thicket Ecosystem Planning (STEP) project. Vlok J.H.J. & Euston-Brown D.I.W. Terrestrial Ecology Research Unit , Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University Report No. 40 2002
Plants of the Klein Karoo. Vlok J.H.J. & Schutte-Vlok A. Regalis Environmental Services and CapeNature Book 2010
A vegetation map for the Little Karoo. Vlok J.H.J., Cowling R.M. & Wolf T. SKEP project Maps and report 2005
Acock’s Valley Bushveld 50 years on: new perspectives on the delimitation characterisation and origin of subtropical thicket vegetation. Vlok J.H.J., Euston-Brown D.I.W. & Cowling R.M. NMMU; Regalis Environmental Services; Private Consultant S. Afr. J. Bot. 69, 27–51. (publication) 2003
The Biodiversity Sector Plan for Hessequa and Mossel Bay Municipalities. Supporting land-use planning and decision-making in Critical Biodiversity Areas and Ecological Support Areas for sustainable development. Vromans D.C. & Te Roller K.S. CapeNature C.A.P.E. Fine-scale Biodiversity Planning Project. 2009
Management of Cape mountain zebra in
the Kammanassie Nature Reserve,
South Africa
Watson L.H. & Chadwick P. NMMU & CapeNature South African Journal of Wildlife Research Vol. 37, No. 1. (publication) 2007
Population viability of Cape mountain zebra in Gamka Mountain Nature Reserve, South Africa: the influence of habitat and fire. Watson L.H., Odendaal H.E., Barry T.J. & Pietersen J. NMMU; CapeNature Biological Conservation 122: 173–180. (publication) 2005
Monitoring the success of planted Portulacaria afra (Spekboom) cuttings for the rehabilitation of Thicket in the Little Karoo, South Africa. Weber L.M. NMMU B.Tech. Protject Report 2011
Impacts of degradation on critically endangered Oudtshoorn Gannaveld Wheeler A.D. University of Western Cape PhD Thesis 2009

 

The GCBR area overlaps with regions that have been the subject of major South African strategic conservation planning projects, namely the Cape Action for People and the Environment (C.A.P.E.), the Succulent Karoo Ecosystem Project (SKEP) and the Subtropical Thicket Ecosystem Programme (STEP). The Gouritz Initiative Report (Lombard et al. 2004) provides detailed information regarding the biodiversity patterns and processes that will be captured in the biosphere reserve area.

Past research includes a number of research projects carried out under the umbrella of the Fynbos Biome Project through the National Scientific Programmes Unit of the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR). The Klein Karoo Study Group, an informal association of researchers from various institutions, conducted a number of research projects focussed particularly on the Klein Karoo area of the proposed biosphere reserve.

Through the South African Ostrich Business Chamber (SAOBC) Biodiversity Unit, research was carried out on the impacts of ostrich farming on the biodiversity of Succulent Karoo Biome habitats and the impacts of alternative land management on socio-economic conditions. Fine scale vegetation mapping has been completed for the proposed biosphere reserve area resulting in the development of Critical Biodiversity Area maps. Various research projects take place in the formally protected areas that are managed by CapeNature and make up the core areas of the biosphere reserve.

All of the above have served to inform management plans and other practical applications. For example, the research on ostrich management is now being used in outreach to farmers in an effort to optimise their farming practices to be more sustainable.

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