Land management & Agriculture

News from the Land management & Agriculture Project

Study on lethal management of jackal and caracal in Karoo

Study on lethal management of jackal and caracal in Karoo

11/5/18
Research by the Universities of Johannesburg and Cape Town regarding the impact of lethal management on the genetics of black-backed jackal and caracal populations in the Karoo shows that such management is counterproductive for farmers. Results indicated a high genetic diversity in jackal and caracal populations, probably as a result of a compensatory dispersal response to culling. Lethal management to control populations of jackal and caracal appears (once again) to not be appropriate to meet the small-livestock farmers' goals of reducing predator numbers on farmland to limit predation on their livestock, because more predators seem to recolonize areas where jackals and caracals have been killed. The fieldwork component of this project was funded by the WWF Nedbank Green Trust.  Download the full report below.
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Results of study show private land is important for biodiversity conservation

Results of study show private land is important for biodiversity conservation

6/9/18
Results of study focussed on medium- to large-sized terrestrial vertebrate biodiversity in Anysberg Nature Reserve and World Heritage Site and neighboring farmland using camera traps show that even if protected areas such as Anysberg Nature Reserve are extremely important for nature conservation, the inclusion of private lands to the conservation process is crucial to conserve the full range of species found in drylands such as the Karoo. Initiatives such as the CapeNature's biodiversity stewardship programme have a great role to play in conservation, by making private landowners the custodians of biodiversity, along with protected areas. This project was funded in part by the WWF Nedbank Green Trust. CapeNature is also thanked for allowing access to work in Anysberg Nature Reserve and World Heritage Site. Download the article below.
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'Field guide for honeybush harvesters' available in English and Afrikaans

'Field guide for honeybush harvesters' available in English and Afrikaans

4/17/18
Sustainable agriculture uses best practice to produce high quality products in a way that is environmentally sustainable and also has socio-economic benefits for communities. The development of guidelines to inform best practice therefore contributes to the national goal of using our natural resources sustainably in order to ensure that these resources can also benefit future generations. The honeybush industry generates locally important income for processors, farmers and harvesters. Some 85% of the annual crop comes from wild harvested honeybush plants and the remainder from cultivated crops. With financial support from the Western Cape Department of Environmental Affairs and Development Planning, best practice guidelines for the sustainable harvesting of wild honeybush have been developed by Gillian MacGregor through thorough field work and inputs from a wide range of stakeholders. These guidelines have now been incorporated into a handy 'field guide' in English or a 'veldgids' in Afrikaans, which can be downloaded below. 
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Sustainable harvesting guidelines released for Honeybush "bergtee"

Sustainable harvesting guidelines released for Honeybush "bergtee"

12/6/17
Technical documents which present existing knowledge used to develop recommendations towards best practice in the wild honeybush industry have been compiled by Gillian MacGregor (University of Rhodes) with financial support by the Western Cape Department of Environmental Affairs and Development Planning. Honeybush refers to the various plant species belonging to the genus Cyclopia, and covers those species which are commercially used to produce tea. The principle thinking behind the guidelines is the fact that the rate of harvest should not exceed the rate of regeneration.  As a first attempt at developing a formal set of guidelines for the wild harvesting of honeybush, the focus has been on Cyclopia intermedia (bergtee), as this is by far the major resource of the honeybush tea industry.  Download the series of documents covering (1) an overview of the honeybush industry, (2) the harvesting guidelines for Cyclopia intermedia (bergtee), (3) the implications of fynbos ecology for Cyclopia species, (4) applicable legislative and policy framework, and (5) a review of wild plant harvesting guideline type documents and relevant literature, below. 
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The effect of predators on small stock in the Karoo

The effect of predators on small stock in the Karoo

8/19/17
Two young French researchers, Marine Drouilly and Dr Marion Tafani, are doing research in the Karoo to find out what influence predators such as jackal, caracal, baboon, and to a lesser extent leopard, have on small stock such as sheep and goats. They addressed a Gouritz Cluster Biosphere Reserve (GCBR) meeting at the Oudtshoorn Research Institute. Drouilly, who is doing research for a doctorate, and Dr Tafani, who is doing post-doctorate research, explained some of the results of their ongoing research on the Karoo Predator Project in an area consisting of 22 farms in the Koup area near Laingsburg. They work under die direct supervision of Prof Justin O’Riain, an ecologist. Read the full article drafted by Tisha Steyn that was published in AgriOrbit on 27 July 2017 (https://agriorbit.com/effect-predators-small-stock-karoo/), or download it below.
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Wat boere nog nie oor bobbejane en jakkalse weet nie

Wat boere nog nie oor bobbejane en jakkalse weet nie

6/17/17
Voorlopige bevindings van ’n navorsingsprojek oor die ekologie van jakkalse, rooikatte en bobbejane op kleinveeplase in die Karoo is onlangs met belanghebbendes in die Klein-Karoo gedeel. Die projek word deur twee Franse nagraadse studente, Marine Drouilly en dr. Ma­rion Tafani, behartig. Drouilly fokus die afgelope drie jaar op die ekologie van jakkalse en rooikatte, en Tafani die afgelope jaar op dié van bobbejane. Die doel is om dié drie roofdierspesies se impak op kleinvee op plase in ’n gebied van sowat 200 000 ha in die Koup in die Sentraal-Karoo te bepaal. Drouilly gebruik CapeNature se Anysberg-natuurreservaat as ’n kontrolegebied. ’n Aanbieding oor die voorlopige bevindings van die Karoo-roofdierprojek is onlangs op die Gouritz-biosfeerreservaat (Gouritz Cluster Bio­sphere Reserve – GCBR) se algemene jaarvergadering op die Oudtshoorn-proefplaas gedoen. Die navorsers werk onder die toesig van prof. Justin O’Rian, ’n gedragsekoloog verbonde aan die Universiteit van Kaapstad. Lees die volledige artikel deur Tisha Steyn wat in 'Landbou Burger'  op 16 Junie 2017 gepubliseer is.
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Erosion Control & Veld Rehabilitation pamphlet

Erosion Control & Veld Rehabilitation pamphlet

5/22/16
Ecological rehabilitation is a great deal more than a technical management challenge. Working on rehabilitation projects is a way in which we can establish a balanced and healthy ethical relationship with our natural environment. Working with our hands in the soil literally brings us “back to earth”. If properly done, rehabilitation projects heal more than the scars of man’s careless actions, it also inspires people to care more for their natural environment. This pamphlet tells you how to go about it… 
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Landowner’s guide to human-wildlife conflict

Landowner’s guide to human-wildlife conflict

4/26/16
 In southern Africa, there are many species that have for a long time been labelled as “problem animals”. This resulted in many animals being relentlessly persecuted and exterminated, with devastating impacts on the environment and its ecology.
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