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Ephemeral Wetlands of the Nelson Mandela Bay Metropolitan Area: Classification, Biodiversity and Management Implications
Expanded Title:South Africa has limited water resources in the face of a growing demand for household, rural and industrial use. Because of these pressures, it is important to manage our water resources responsibly, both in terms of those that are part of the direct supply chain and those that have a more indirect role in the provisioning of ecosystem services. Wetlands provide a variety of ecosystem services, from flood attenuation and water filtration to cultural benefits, and many more which have been well documented by other researchers (e.g. Millennium Ecosystem Assessment 2005; Kotze et al. 2009; Blackwell and Pilgrim 2011). Wetland research has gained attention and funding in recent years in response to anthropogenic pressures on these aquatic ecosystems reacting to a need to protect, conserve and manage this natural resource. In order to standardise and formalise the identification, delineation and typing of wetlands, many tools and methods have been developed to assist researchers, managers and practitioners (e.g. DWAF delineation guide (DWAF 2005), Water Research Commission series of reports, WET (Ellery et al. 2009) and WHI (Day and Malan 2010) programmes, SANBI’s Classification System (Ollis et al. 2013) and National Mapping Initiative (BGIS 2011)). It is through common methods and terminology that effective communication between researchers, managers and practitioners can be achieved to reach common goals. The advent of these tools and methods has brought about the need for more fine scale testing and use of these methods in different areas of the country, to ensure that they are generic enough for use across South Africa and yet meet the needs of unique local settings. Most have been developed in specific regions, where data are available and the immediate need to manage and protect wetlands from anthropogenic pressures has been greater. It has also been noted that there are knowledge gaps within different regions of the country. The Eastern Cape Province is one of those regions where there is a general paucity of research attention and available spatial data for wetlands. Most of the information gathered for wetlands in the Eastern Cape region has been need-driven in the context of wetland specific ecological impact assessments, in particular for proposed developments. There has been very little information available especially in terms of basic research on wetlands of this area, and in other semi-arid and arid regions of the country, such as the Northern Cape, Free State and Northwest Province. The research presented in this report was designed to utilise the tools that have been developed nationally and apply them to wetlands in the Nelson Mandela Bay Metropolitan (NMB) area. In arid and semi-arid regions of the country, such as the NMB, the climatic conditions tend to favour a greater number of ephemeral or temporary wetlands. These ephemeral systems often include endemic species of fauna and flora that are adapted to wet and dry periods (Leibowitz 2003; Meyer et al. 2007; Day et al. 2010). Consequently, these systems potentially have a relatively high biodiversity compared to other more permanent systems (Leibowitz 2003; Keddy 2010).
Date Published:01/04/2015
Document Type:Research Report
Document Subjects:Ecosystem - Biodiversity protection
Document Keywords:Guidelines, Water Quality
Document Format:Report
Document File Type:pdf
Research Report Type:Standard
WRC Report No:2181/1/15
ISBN No:978-1-4312-0660-5
Authors:Schael DM; Gama PT; Melly BL
Project No:K5/2181
Organizations:Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University
Document Size:4 360 KB
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