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Some preliminary results from IBD 2008

18 sites covering grassland, forest, savanna and aquatic systems were surveyed by 282 participants form all walks of life with each team led by specialist teams. The K2C Biosphere Region and Bushveld Connections in cooperation with Mpumalanga Rural Development Programme (MRDP) and supported by GTZ and DED and the GTZ-BIODIV programme assisted with the organisation of the event.

A large scale collation of data collected on IBD 2008 is currently underway. Some results included:

  1. In the Grassland Biome: recording of the endemic Protea parvula at Watervalslpruit in the Graskop area. The comment was that 2 weeks were required to adequately record the species present in these grasslands. On a negative note 11 species of invasive plants were also recorded on the transformed Matabidi Grassland site but over 60 taxa were recorded;
  2. Over 100 plant species were recorded in the untransformed Forest Biome including 6 endemic and 8 species of muti plants. 35 bird species were identified despite a fairly strong wind;
  3. A night drive was done on three of the Savanna sites and yielded a mean of 9 mammal species (ra. 5 - 11) including the critically endangered African or Cape Hunting Dog (Lycaon pictus) and the nocturnal Civet (Civettictis  civetta). The mean time of the drives was 2.5h (ra. 1 - 4). Of interest was the sighting of another critically endangered species the Southern Ground Hornbill (Bucorvus leadbetteri);
  4. The Savanna survey yielded many interesting observations including a maximum on various sites of 16 mammal species (including sign), 41 bird species, 93 tree species, 28 grass species and 35 invertebrate species. Highlights included Aardvark (Orycteropus afer) spoor, Le Vaillant's Cuckoo (Clamator levaillantii), the rare three striped pale blue chin lizard (Platysaurus orientalis), black mamba (Dendroaspis polylepis) and snouted cobra (Naja annulifera annulifera) as well as at least 10 insect species on a single Euphorbia ingens tree. Of concern in this biome was the cutting of live trees in one area and the presence of Prickly Pear (Opuntia spp.) in another;
  5. In a household interview within the Welverdiend community it was found that 100% of household's used firewood on a weekly basis at least. This was because many of these people cannot afford electricity (? 88%) while 4% did not have electricity. Results such as these highlight the need for community involvement in the K2C if biodiversity is to be preserved;
  6. Results from the aquatic surveys indicated that the water quality was good (high SASS scores) in the Vaalhoek area (Blyde River on the escarpment), Otter's Den (Blyde River) and Kruger Park sites with a moderate to low score obtained at the Oaks Bridge (Olifants River) site. Highlights here was the recording of the endemic Minnow Barbus argenteus at Vaalhoek, Barbus brevipinnis a new record for Otter's Den and 61 bird species at the Kruger Park aquatic site. Of concern was the presence of 6 alien species on the Kruger site.