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Trajectories of change in wetlands of the Fynbos Biome from the late 1980s to 2014
Expanded Title:Although it is commonly reported in the literature that at least 50% of wetlands in South Africa have been lost and many more are seriously degraded, it is difficult to establish the veracity of this statement. Wetlands appear to be increasingly under threat due to the spread of urban infrastructure and expanding agricultural activities. Until the establishment of Ramsar Convention in 1971, wetlands were neglected not only in the South Africa but globally. experts who surveyed. As part of a survey from 1987 to 1989, about 100 wetlands in the Western Cape were examined and photographed. Water chemistry parameters were measured and plant and invertebrate samples were taken, however the biological data was never published. This project revisited 65 of the original 100 wetlands studied, based on the availability of data. The same parameters were studied, with the addition of diatoms. The major aim of this project was to better understand the factors leading to wetland degradation and through this to facilitate their conservation and also to demonstrate the importance of monitoring. It was found that some wetlands had been lost completely, some changed dramatically, while some were missing but presumed to be in existence. Fortunately, the conditions of a few wetlands had improved in the last 25 years. Using ecological health as an assessment method, the following summary of findings was reported: An analysis of the change in environmental condition based on an ecological health score, shows that: 29% of the sampled wetlands have improved (slightly better category); 24% wetlands are unchanged (based on the original 25 year-old data) ; 8% wetlands show a slight deterioration; 23% wetlands have deteriorated significantly. Of the remaining wetlands (16%), the change in ecological health could not be determined or the wetland was no longer in existence. This study suggests that the main drivers of deterioration (impacts facing wetlands) in the Fynbos Biome, certainly include: invasion by alien plants (acacias, pines, eucalyptus), urban development, and agricultural development. The number of wetlands that have been lost, is lower than was expected. The improvement to many wetlands could be attributed to the protection of some within new conservation areas – both at local and national level, involving both state institutions and private landowners.
Date Published:01/01/2015
Document Type:Research Report
Document Subjects:Ecosystem - Biodiversity protection
Document Format:Report
Document File Type:pdf
Research Report Type:Standard
WRC Report No:2183/1/14
ISBN No:978-1-4312-0644-5
Authors:Malan H; Day J; Ramjukadh C; Olivier N
Project No:K5/2183
Originator:WRC
Organizations:Freshwater Research Centre
Document Size:2 854 KB
Attachments:WRC_K2_ 2183 Status Reports Final print ready Jan 2015.pdf
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