Manual 21423921

Manual 21423921
CHAPTER 1 INTRODUCTION Wildlife management and private game farming have been practised for a number of years in
southern Africa. However, wildlife management decisions have often been based on knowledge
gained in the agricultural sector, with little attention having been given to sound ecological theory.
Ecological theory should form the basis of all ecosystem management, including the savanna
The savanna ecosystem covers around 20% of the world's terrestrial ecosystems,
including some 40% of Africa and approximately 35 % of the land surface of South Africa
(Scholes & Walker 1993). Savannas are second to tropical forests in terms of their contribution
to primary production, and represent a large portion of the terrestrial carbon pool (Atjay, Ketner
& Duvigneaud 1987; In: Scoles & Walker 1993). The distribution, structure and funct ion of
savannas around the globe are determined by the availability of water and nutrients and through
complex interactions between climate, soils, fire and herbivory (Frost 1984, O'Connor 1994). The
African savanna ecosystem can be divided into moist and arid savannas (Huntley 1989).
Land use activities in the savanna region are dominated by cattle ranching, crop
production and wildlife-related tourism. P rotected areas within the arid savanna represent 49%
of the total number of protected areas in southern Africa, and cover 12.1 % of this biome. The
area covered by protected areas within the moist savanna is much lower and only covers 5. 0 %
of the biome, representing only 8.7 % of the total number of nature reserves within southern
Africa (Huntley 1989).
The Cinergy Game Farm is situated within the mixed bushveld area ofthe Springbok Flats,
situated within the moist savanna. The Springbok Flats covers an area of 66 647 km 2 , 60 % of
which has been transformed, mainly through agricultural practices, mining activities and infra
structural development. Only 3.1 % of the mixed bushveld' s land surface area has been set aside
for conservation (Van R ooyen & Bredenkamp 1996).
T he Cinergy Game Farm has been exposed to agricultural activities for some 30 years
prior to its establishment. At the onset of the present study the owner wished to change the
management approach of the area to game ranching. The reintroduction of indigenous animals
to Cinergy Game Farm is central in establishing a game farm operation. These re-introductions,
whether natural or artificial, also serve to promote the conservCltion of biodiversity. According
to the International Union for the Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN),
biodiversity can be defined as 'the variety and variability of all living organisms' (Bond 1989).
This includes the genetic variability within species and their populations, the variety of species and
their life forms, the diversity of the complex associations between species and their interactions
with the environment, and the ecological processes which they influence and perform.
The transformation from agricultural farmland to game farming should be based on
ecological restoration. Ecological restoration entails the return of a damaged ecosystem towards
its pre-disturbance condition, i.e. the reestablishment of ecological attributes (structural and
functional) and related physical , chemical and biological characteristics (Pywell & Putwain
1996).This management plan uses sound ecological theory to formulate the management actions
needed to achieve this transformation. All management actions should also be in accordance to
those dictated by the legislation of the Northern Province. This legislation has been laid out in the
Nature Conservation Ordinance 12 (1983) of the former Transvaal Province.
The present management plan is directed at achieving the objectives set for the Cinergy
Game Farm. Here I present the background to the area and describe the floral and faunal elements
currently present on the Conservation Unit. This will be followed by a review of the ecological
theories underlying the objectives that have been designed for the Cinergy Game Farm. The
management actions that need to be taken to fulfil the required objectives fo r the Cinergy Game
Farm, will be based on the described ecological theory, and applies this within an hierarchal
management framework . Monitoring the process, and measuring that against the initial ground
surveys will determine whether the right management techniques have been applied, and to
implement any changes either to the predetermined objectives of the Cinergy Game Farm, or the
management actions described for the Conservation Unit. This management plan is valid for a fi ve
year period . Thereafter it should be revised against the results of the monitoring program.
The objectives for the management plan have been compiled through discussions held between
Dave Alexander, the owner of the Cinergy Game Farm and Rudi van Aarde of the Conservation
Ecology Research Unit of the University of Pretoria (Appendix 1) The following objectives have
been set for the Cinergy Game Farm:
To contribute to the conservation ethic by consolidating land previously exposed to land
use practises other than conservation into a unit with characteristics typical of an
indigenous, self-sustaining natural system.
To restore the consolidated land into a singular unit, where natural and indigenous
processes with faunal and floral elements typical of the region prio r to disturbances
evoked by man, dominate.
· T o develop a conservation ethic amongst all stakeholders so as to enhance and maintain
biological diversity through a pro-active conservation management operation.
To develop a self-sustaining game breeding enterprise which will supply for some of the
needs of other animal breeders and conservationists.
To enact and maintain some self-sustaining leisure activities to the benefit of the owner
and his family.
The specific operational objective for the Conservation Unit of the Cinergy Game Farm has been
set out to establish :
'a singular fenced in unit adjoined by other conservation units and cattle ranging enterprises
development of this land in line with the overall objectives of the Cinergy Farm. The unit will be
developed as a self-sustaining Conservation Unit within the modern paradigm of conservation,
reflecting on the maintenance of local biological diversity . As part of this the existing biological
diversity is to be assessed and where needed, be enhanced through ecological restoration w ithin
the limits set by spatial configuration and sensible temporal and economic variables'.
The aims of this management plan for the Conservation Unit of the Cinergy Game Farm
are as follows:
To determine and evaluate the distribution and relative abundances of selected plants and
animals on the U nit.
To construct a vegetation map of the Unit, with empr.asis on habitat condition and
suitability for the relocation oflarge herbivores on to the Unit.
To determine the economic carrying capacity of the Unit.
To develop an adaptable management plan that will give rise to the recovery of suitable
habitats through the restoration of ecological processes typical of the region
Geology, Topography and Soils
The present study was conducted on the Cinergy Game Farm which is situated in the N orthern
Province of South Africa, in the area demarcated as Voordeeel (559 KR) in the Potgietersrus
Magisterial District (Figure 1). The area is 11 km east ofNaboomspruit (24°38' Sand 28°45' E)
and falls within the north-western region of the Springbok Flats. The Cinergy Game Farm is sub­
divided into a Conservation Unit, Game Farming Unit and a Farm Yard (Figure 2). The
Conservation Unit extend over an area of 753 ha. The Game farm is situated adjacent to the
Nylsvley Nature Reserve and M osdene, a private nature reserve. The Nyl river is the nearest
natural water source and flows in a north-easterly direction through Nylsvley Nature R eserve and
the adjacent pro perties to the north of the Cinergy Game Farm. The Conservation U nit of the
game farm is situated on the Clarens formation of the Karoo geological sequence. H ere medium
to fine-grained, red to cream sandstones have been overlain by younger volcanic basalts of the
Letaba formatio n (CSIR. 1998). The sediments and volcanic soils have no structural dip, with a
horizontal beddi ng in the sandstones.
The Springbok Flats is characterized by a flat topography with a surface gradient of 1 in
100 metres to 1 in 200 metres with no marked surface drainage system. The area surrounding the
Conservation Unit comprises mostly of undulating to flat plains at an altitude varying betw een 700
to 1100 m above sea level. The flat topography is a direct result of the sediment s and volcanic
soils in the vicinity of the conservation area having no structural dip, with horizontal bedding in
the sandstones. There are no drainage lines within the area. Two majo r grou ps of soil types
identified for this study are given as nutrient poor and nutrient rich soils . They both are very sandy
and derived from sandstone. Both soil types are approximate one metre deep. The nutrient rich
soils have a higher clay content and are characterised by fine-leaved trees and shrubs such as
Acacia nilotica and A. tortillis. The sandy nutrient poor soils are characterised by the broadleaved
trees and shrubs such as Burkea ajricana and Ochna pulchra.
The climate of the region is typical of the savanna biome with, hot wet summers followed by
warm dry winters. Savanna ecosystems are some of the sunniest areas in the world and the
Nylsvley Nature Reserve abutting the farm receives at least 75 % of its potential annual total of
4371 sunshine hours (Harrison 1984, In: Scoles & Walker 1993).
T he atmosphere is relatively dry throughout the year, particularly so during the winter
season. R elative humidity (RH) varies between 40 % in July to 58 % in January, with an annual
mean of 50 %. The mean annual wind speed measured at 2 m above ground level is 145 m.s- 1
(with 50 m diameter clearing) . Typically, savanna vegetation experiences an average above
canopy wind speed of2.99 m.s- 1 (measured at 11.5 m) . At a height of2 m wind speeds are
reduced to 1.08 ms- l W inds associated with thunderstorms and whirlwinds can reach speeds of
up to 22 m.s·! (Harrison 1984, In: Scoles & Walker 1993).
Temperature data extracted from Arclnfo® raster grids supplied by the Compu ting Centre
for W ater R esearch, University of Natal, P ietermaritzburg suggest an annual mean temperature
for the Cinergy Game Farm of 184 DC, with an annual range of 10.7 DC between the warmest
and coldest months (T able 1). D ecember, January and February are the warmest months, with
mean daily maxi mum t emperatures reaching 28 DC and June and July the coldest, with the mean
daily minimum temperatures as low as 3.5 DC. Frost may occur within the area, but is rare b ecause
of the relatively dry conditions prevailing during winter. Severe frost occurs every 5- 10 years
Extreme low and high temperatures are stochastic events causing natural disturbances w ithin
biological corrununities. Annual soil temperature averages around 22 DC at all depths between 0.1
m and 1. 2 m. Daily and seasonal variation is however highest in the surface horizons. Exposed
soil surfaces w ill experience hig her daily soil temperature fluctuations than areas covered by
natural vegetation. Higher air temperatures leads to higher soil temperatures within the upper
layers. The low ered moisture levels wit hin these exposed soil areas will result in topsoil being
blown away.
T he Cinergy Game Farm is situated within the summer rainfall area of southern M rica.
The rainfall seaso n lasts from October until April. The mean annual rainfall for the Nylsvley
Nature Reserve is given as 629 ± 118 mm rainfall per year (Figure 3a & Figure 3b). M ost rain
falls between N ovember and February. The dry period occurs mainly during the colder months
of the year fro m M ay to August, with small isolated events within the dry perio d (Harrison 1984).
Table 1. Mean daily minimum temperature CC), mean daily maximum temperature CC) and mean
daily temperature caC) for the Cinergy Game Farm, Northern Province (Computing Centre for
Water Research, University of Natal, Pietermaritzburg).
Mean daily minimum
Mean daily maximum
Mean daily
temperature CC)
temperature ca C)
28 .9
22.8 February
22 .5 March
2 1. 3 April
11 .7
25 .5
18.6 May
15 .2 June
12.1 July
12.2 August
14.6 September
18.0 October
13 .1
20. 3 November
21.3 December
16 .1
22.3 9
Mean (629 mm)
SE (± 22.38)
---.. 130
~ 120
100 h-~~~~~~~~~r-~==~~~~~~~~=L~~~~~~~~~
0.. 80
Year (1971 - 1998)
Figure 3a . Annual rainfaIl (nun . annum-I) for the Nylsvley Nature Reserve, Northern Province
from 1971 until 1998, expressed as a percentage of the mean (DE AT 1999).
T" ....... ... ... .... .. ..... ......... ... ... ..... ....... ..... .. ....... ...... ......... ...... ... .............. .. ... ..... 180
.. ... ...... ... .. .. ... . .. ... .. ...... .. .. ... ...... .......... ........ ...... .... . .... .. .. .. ... .. . . ..
. . .... .. ..... .. .. . 160
.. ....... ...... .. .... . .. .. ...... .. .... ........... . .. .. .. . . ...
.. ....... .. .... .. .... .. .. . ....... ..
.. .. .... . .. .. .. . . 140
.... ... ....... .... .... .. .. .. .. .. ...... ....
.. .. .. ..
... .. ....
.. .... .. .
. ........ .. .. .. _.. .... ....
.. .. .. _... .. .... . 120
.... .. .... ...... .... .... . .. .
.... ..... .. .. .. ... ... .. 20
..... .. ...... .... .... .. JUL
Figure 3b. Mean monthly rainfall (mm) ± SD recorded for the Nylsvley Nature Reserve, Northern
Province from 1971 until 1998 (DE AT 1999).
10 Rainfall occurs mainly as high intensity convective storms
This leads to soil-surface
characteristics such as capping and erosion through rain splash. However, the amount of rainfall
for an average storm is relatively low, less than 20 nun, resulting in high proportional interception
losses. High evaporation causes the water of a rainstorm of less than 20 mm to disappear within
five days (Harrison 1984, In: Scoles & Walker 1993).
The area experiences extended periods of below average annual rainfall with a cyclic
pattern of about 18 years. This cycle appears to be consistent for the summer rainfall interior
region of southern Afiica (Tyson 1986). This cyclic pattern, however, only accounts for some of
the annual rainfall variation and can not be used for long term predictive purposes as may be
required for conservation management. Ecosystems are event driven and climate extremes are an
important variable when determining management strategies.
This area is c1assmed as Mixed Bushveld (van Rooyen & Bredenkamp 1996) and is characterized
by red bushwillow, Combretum apiculatum, on shallow soils, with scented thorn, Acacia nilotica,
sweet thorn, A. karroo and sickle bush, Dichrostachys cinerea dominating the clay soil s. The
deeper sandy soils are dominated by silver clusterleaf, Terminalia sericea, peeling plane, Ochna
p ulchra, weeping wattle, Peltophonlm ajricanum and wild syringa, Burkea ajricana. G rasses
common to the area include Eragrostis heteromera and Aristida bipartida on the clay soils, and
Panicum maximum, Eragrostis pallens and Perotis patens on the sandy soils.
The Conservation Unit has been exposed to a range of agricultural activities for some 30
years prior to the present study. At least 65% of the property has been under maize (Zea mays),
wheat (Triticum vu/gara), watermelon (Citrollis rehmii), cotton (Gossypium herbaceum) and
peanut (A rachis hypogea) cultivation. The remaining areas were exposed to various levels of
grazing and browsing by domestic animals.
Materials and Methods
The Conservation Unit has been divided into 23 management units, based on former land use
practices. Interpretation of recent 1: 10 000 aerial photographs, supplemented by information
obtained from previous landowners, allowed the delineation of each of these units. Twenty three
1OXI 0 metre sample plots were randomly selected and surveyed for species presence and density
11 during April 1999. The Braun-Blanquet method of sampling and synthesis was followed as
described by Westhoff & Van der Maarel (1973) and Werger (1974a) . A description of the topsoil
layer and type of disturbance was noted for each survey plot. Trees (>2 m) and shrubs «2 m)
were identified, separated into two height classes and counted within each sample plot. The grass
layer was surveyed using the line intercept method, with grass species identified and recorded at
one pace interval. Transects were 100 point long, with each point being about one metre apart .
Other characteristic plant species not encountered along the transects within each of the
predetermined vegetation units were recorded separately. Cover-abundance was estimated and
recorded for each vegetation layer, using the scale of Westhoff & Van der Maarel (1973 ; adapted
by Werger 1974a). In this scale (r) denotes one or few individuals; (+) denotes occasional and Jess
than 1% of total area; (1) denotes abundant and with very Jow cover, or less abundant but with
higher cover «5% of total cover); (2a) indicates 5-12.5 % cover, irrespective of number of
individuals and (2b) indicates 12.5-25% cover, irrespective of number of individuals, (3 ) denotes
25-50% cover of total plot area, (4) denotes 50-75% cover of total plot area, and (5) indicates
75-100% cover of total plot area, irrespective of number of individuals .
The vegetation types of the Conservation Unit were classified using the computer program
TWINSP AN (Hill 1979a) and refm ed by Braun-Blanquet procedures, using TURBOVEG
(Hennekens 1996a) and MEGATAB (Hennekens 1996b). Vegetation unit gradient analysis for
soil type, age of old fi elds and vegetation composition were determined through DECORANA
(Hjll 1979b) .
ArcView® and ArcView Spatial Analyst® were used for all mapping purposes. The
bounda ries of the different units of the Cinergy Farm as well as distinct roads w ere manually
digitised from 1: 50 000 topographical maps (South Africa; 198 5, 1986) using a Transverse
Mercator projection from the Clarke 1880 spheroid and taking 29 ° longitude as the central
meridian. The aerial photograph (F otogramensura, Pretoria, 25-02-1999) was scanned and utilised
in JPEG format. This image was geo-referenced in ArcView® using an Avenue® script supplied
with the software. Vegetation types, management units and farm roads were manually digitised
from the geo-referenced JPEG image. The sizes of the management units w ere calculated using
an Avenue® script supplied with ArcView® software.
The economic carrying capacity for each of the management units was determined by
combining the ecological index method (Vorster 1982) and the veld condition score index
12 (Trollope, Potgieter & Zambatis 1989). The results were added tJ the model proposed by Coe,
Cumming & Phillipson (1976) to calculate the biomass and production of large herbivores in
relation to rainfall and primary production. The optimal rainfall figure was taken as 500 mm /
rainfall season, and below average rainfall as 80 % of the optimum value. The figures were then
converted to large stock units for game species from domestic animal calculations (Meissner,
Hofmeyr, van Rensburg and Pienaar 1983). Economic carrying capacity is expressed in Large
Stock Units (LSU). O ne LSU has been defined as the equivalent of a single cow with a mass of
450 kg which gains 500 g / day on a grass pasture with a mean Digestible Energy (DE) of 55%
(Meissner et a1. 1983). The calculations for determining the economic carrying capacity were
based on conservative estimates, due to the agricultural disturbances to which the Conservation
unit has been exposed.
Description of the vegetation types
Twenty three management units were identified (Figure 4). The management units were identified
based on the historical exposure to different agricultural practices (Table 2). The management
units were grouped into four vegetation types, with one of these vegetation types subdivided into
five plant community variations (Figure 5). The upper soil layer characteri stics, the characteristic
and dominant species for the woody layer, grass layer and forbs occurring within the plant
communities ofthe various vegetation typ es, are described separately. The Braun-Blanquet table
for the vegetation classification is given in Appendix 2.
A Acacia tortillis - Acacia nilotica thorny woodland on vertic clay.
Management units 1 and 2 consist of the Acacia tortillis - Acacia nilotica thorny woodland . The
age of the non-herbaceous vegetation, except for the edges, is 24 years or younger. These plant
communities occur on black vertic clay with a loamy layer on top. Several natural depressions
where rainwater collect during the rainy season also occur within this area.
T he plant community is dominated by 3 to 6 metre high Acacia tortillis and Acacia
nilotica trees. Panicum coloratum, Eragrostis heteromera and Aristida bipartida are the
dominant grass species in both units 1 and 2. On unit 1 Brachiaria nigropedata and Brachyleana
neriijolia also occur commonly while Sporobolus ioclados, Eragrostis curvula and Tragus
berteronianus occur commonly on unit 2. Unit 2 has large numbers of Aloe transvaalensis and
13 Asparagus suavolens. The presence of Aristida bipartida suggests high grazing pressure
B Sporobolus africanllm - Acacia karroo thornveld on vertic clay.
Management units 16, 17 and 19 consist of the Sporobolus ajricanum - Acacia karroo thornveld
plant community. The substrate consists mainly of dark black vertic soils going over into red
sandy loam soils with high a clay content. Ploughing and the clearing of trees over a period of
nearly 30 years resulted in mixing of the 0-, A- and B mineral horizons.
Within the red loamy clay areas the tree layer is dominated by Acacia karroo and Acacia
nilotica and Acacia tortillis in the vertic clay soils areas with a higher clay content. Trees on unit
17 were less than 2 m high and sparsely distributed at the time of the study. Sporobolus ajricanlts
characterises the herbaceous layer of the community within all three the units. Cynodon dactylon
and Urochloa mosambicensis are the dominant grass species. Other grass species commonly
occurring here include Aristida canescens, Eragrostis lehmanniana and Heteropogon contortltS
in the vertic clay soils and Melenis repens and Aristida congesta in the red loamy clay areas.
C Tagetes minllta - Cynodon dactylon old fields on clay.
At the time of the study the Tagetes minuta - Cynodon dactylon old fields were the most recent
ploughed areas on the Conservation Unit. Management units 3, 7, 9 and 18 consist of the Tagetes
minuta - Cynodon dactylon old fie lds vegetation type. The soils of these units vary from vertic
clay with a loamy layer on top, to a red basalt covered with a loamy clay layer. Ploughing resulted
in the mixing ofthe 0-, A- and B mineral horizons. There are very few woody species within the
plant community due to recent agricultural activities. The vegetation is dominated by various
exotic weedy species.
Unit 3 has a small stand of Acacia gerrardii of less than 2 m high in the north- eastern
corner of the ploughed field. The herbaceous layer consists mainly of Cynodon dactylon, with
Digitaria argyrograpta, Chloris virgata, Melinis repens and Eulisine coracana also present.
Units 3, 7 and 18 are also covered with Tagetes minuta. Units 7 and 9 are dominated by
Crotolaria sp.. Unit 18 is the most recently ploughed field and the vegetation consists of Datura
jerox, Datura stramonium, Xanthium spinosum, and Xanthium strumarium. Very few forbs, apart
from Hibiscus trionum and H. pusillus occur within this plant community.
14 Table 2. Management unit number (Figure 4), date and history of agricultural disturbances for the Conservation Unit, Cinergy Game Farm, Northern
History of agricultural disturbance
All vegetation removed except along a narrow strip to the southern and western edges of the ploughed field.
Attempt to establish a permanent grass layer by eliminating the woody components.
The management unit was used for cattle and sheep grazing until 1998.
Management unit has been exposed to cattle and sheep grazing for some 30 years prior to the present study.
Three different sections. The western region was used as maize fields , while the southern part of the eastern
unit number
section was used for wheat production and the northern section for sheep grazing.
Cleared for watermelon production.
Grass layer was mown annually to stimulate grass growth for cattle and sheep grazing.
Cleared for watermelon production.
Grass layer was mown annually to stimulate grass growth for cattle and sheep grazing.
Fenced off and exposed to cattle grazing for some 30 years. Housing the farm labourers during the time of
previous agricultural activities within the Conservation unit.
Extensively cultivated for 30 years with maize and peanut cultivars, alternating between the two species.
17 8
Fenced off and exposed to cattle grazing for some 30 years. Woody elements randomly removed, resulting in
small open grass patches within the mature tree stand. A similar approach was followed in units 21 and 22, but
on a much smaller scale. Unit 6 used for the housing of farm labourers during the time of previous agricultural
activities within the Conservation unit.
Unit 9 used to cultivate a combination of maize, cotton, peanuts and watermelons for 27 years.
Cleared for cultivating watermelons.
Kept clear of all woody elements through mowing.
Used for maize and peanut farming for two years.
Mowed annually to stimulate grass growth for cattle and sheep grazing.
Cleared for watermelon cultivation.
Subsequently been mowed annually for a unknown number of years to stimulate grass growth.
Cleared in and cultivated with maize and peanuts.
Kept clear of woody elements through annual mowing.
Cleared for watermelon production.
Grass layer was mown annually to stimulate grass growth for cattle and sheep grazing.
Extensively cultivated with maize, cotton and peanuts.
Mown annually to stimulate grass growth.
Used for temporary grazing for cattle during the dry season due to the presence of Dichapetalum cymosum.
18 1970
Cleared of natural vegetation to establish wheat fields but was unsuccessful, due to high clay content
Used as graze lands for cattle and sheep.
Cleared through ploughing for maize and wheat cultivation .
Irrigated through a central pivot system for a 20 year period.
Kept clear of woody elements through annual mowing to promote grazing for sheep and cattle.
Annual maize and wheat cultivation for 30 years .
Woody elements cleared but allowed to reestablish, and has been exposed to sheep and cattle grazing.
Exposed to grazing by cattle for some 30 years.
Fenced off and exposed to cattle grazing for some 30 years. Woody elements randomly removed, resulting in
small open grass patches within the mature tree stand.
Fenced off and exposed to cattle grazing for some 30 years. Woody elements randomly removed, resulting in
small open grass patches within the mature tree stand.
Cleared for watermelon production.
Grass layer mown annually to stimulate grass growth for cattle and sheep grazing.
19 D Eragrostis pallens - Burkea africana broadleaved woodland savanna on sand.
The Eragrostis pallens - Burkea africana vegetation type occurs on well drained and highly
leached sandy soils of varying depths. The area is covered with the shallow diggings and burrows
of various animals . Several management units within this community have been cleared and
ploughed for the cultivation of watermelon, and then kept clear of all woody elements through
the aru1Ual mowing of the grass layer. Some of the management units within the vegetation type
are fenced off, due to the presence of Dichapetalum cymosum, thus withholding grazing pressure
within this area during the growing season. These areas are encroached by Ochna pulchra and
Stfychnos p ungens. T his vegetation type is characterised by Burkea africana and Securidaca
longipendiculata in the tree layer, Eragrostis pallens and Aristida stipitata in the grass layer, and
Vernonia poskeana in the herb layer. This vegetation type can be subdivided into five plant
community variations based on the type and intensity of the agricultural disturbance and the time
of vegetation regeneration .
Dl Eragrostis pallens - Comhretum zeylzeri broad leaved woodland savanna on sand.
Management units 6, 8, 21 and 22 consist of the Eragrostis pallens - Combretum zeyheri plant
community. The plant community is characterised by mature trees and shrubs with long grasses.
Combretum zeyheri, Combretum molle, Strychnos pungens and Ochna plilchra dominate the tree
layer. Grewia flavescens and Ehretria rigida characterise the shrub layer. Triraphis
andropogonoides characterises the grass layer, but Eragrostis pallens, Panicum colloratum and
Digitaria brazae dominate the grass layer. Asparagus laricinus and A. suavolens dominate the
herb layer.
D2 Eragrostis pallens - Ochna pulchra dense woodland savanna on sand.
Management u nits 10 and 15 occur within the Eragrostis pallens - Ochna pulchra dense
woodland plant community. Due to different histories of agricultural practices these two units
differ in vegetation structure. Unit lOis dominated by stands of the grasses Eragrostis pallens,
Digitaria eriantha, Eragrostis lehmani ana, Pogonarthria squarrosa, Cynodon dactylon and
Aristida canescens. The tree layer is dominated by Terminalia sericea, Secllridaca
longipendiculata and Ochna pulchra, all standing less than 2 m high, whilst May tenus
senegalensis dominates the shrub layer.
Unit 15 consists of a mature tree stand, with a dense Ochna plilchm and Strychnos pllngens «2 m) shrub layer and a sparse grass layer. The tree layer consists of mature Ochna pulchra, Burkea africana, Terminalia sericea, Strychnos pungens and Securidaca longipendiclilata. The dense growth of trees and shrubs can be attributed to the encroachment of Ochna pulchra and Strychnos pungens. Bush encroachment is mediated by an increase in the number of individuals within the vegetation stand. In contrast, bush thickening describes the increase in individual size ofthe tree or shrub, usually in semi-arid and arid savanna regions. The grass layer is dominated by Eragrostis pallens, Eragrostis heteromera and Aristida stipitata. The herb layer consists mainly of Indigofera spp . and Cucllmus hirsutlls. D3 Digitaria brazzae - Terminalia sericea open woodland savanna on sand. Management units 11 and 20 consist of Digitaria brazzae - Terminalia sericea plant community. The vegetation in unit 11 consists of an open long grass field and is dominated by scattered mature Terminalia sericea trees. The mature Terminalia sericea trees were kept intact during the period of agricultural activity to provide shade for domestic farm animals. Digitaria brazzae, Perotis p atens and Cynodon dactylon are the dominant grass species of this plant community, together with Eragrostis pallens in unit 11 and Heteropogon contortus in unit 20. Dichrostachys cinerea, Acacia tortillis and Acacia nilotica «2 m) dominate the shrub layer in unit 20. D4 Cynodon dactylon - Hyperthelia dissolata mixed grassland on sand. Management units 4,5, 13, 14 and 23 consist ofCynodon dactylon - Hyperthelia dissolata mixed grassland plant community. Mature Burkea africana trees were kept to provide shade for the domesticated animals in unit 4. M anagement units 9 and 14 are assigned to different vegetation types due to the mixing of the topsoil horizons and the historical differences in agricultural exposure. Pioneer species and exotic weeds are generalists and do not distinguish between the vertic clay soils and the soils containing loamy red basalts. The plant community is characterised by the presence of Hyperthelia dissolata in the grass layer but dominated by Cynodon dactylon, Aristida congesta, Eragrostis heteromera, Pogonarthria squarrosa and Perotis patens within all the units. Waltheria indica characterises the forb layer. Dichrostachys cinerea is the dominant woody element, though still less than two metres tall together with other tree species including Terminalia sericea and Strychnos p ungens. 21 DS Aristida stipitata - Aristida canescens open short grassland on sand . Management unit 12 is the only management unit within the Aristida stipitata - Aristida canescens short grassland. The vegetation of the management unit is dominated by an open short grass field consisting of Cynodon dactylon and Aristida canescens. The shrub layer «1 m) consists of Terminalia sericea, Dichrostachys cinerea and May tenus senegalensis. Carrying capacity and stocking rates
The total grazing capacity under average rainfall conditions for the Conservation Unit is 13.8 ha
/ LSU. The economic carrying capacity for the Conservation U nit, based on the total grazing
capacity, converts to a total of 49 LSU game during years of average rainfall. Under poor rainfall
periods « 80% of the mean annual rainfall), the economic carrying capacity decreases to 20 L SU.
The preselected macro-fauna surveyed for this study includes birds and mammals. The majority
of wildlife including birds, small mammals and smaller ungulates, for example steenbok
(Raphicerns campestris) were present within the Conservation U nit during the time of agricultural
activity. Re-introductions of the larger ungulates such as Cape buffalo (Syncerns caffer), w hi te
rhinoceros (Ceratotherium simum), Burchell's zebras (Equus burchelli), red hartebeest
(Alcelaphus buselaphus) and eland (Taurotragus oryx) have been undertaken over the time period
of the present study.
Materials and Methods
The bird survey was conducted over a four day period during September 1999. Only diurnal birds
were recorded . The survey was conducted along transect lines (Bibby, Burgess & Hill 1992),
which covered t he whole Conservation Unit and were laid out systematically at 250 m intervals
in an east-west direction. The transect lines crossed through all habitat types on the Conservation
Unit. The survey was conducted walking at a speed of two km.h- 1 and observing the birds through
8X40 binoculars . All stationary birds seen in front of the observer and within about 50 m either
perpendicular to the transect line were identified, counted and recorded. Birds that were
stationary within the set range, but which were disturbed due to the observer's presence, were
22 also identified, counted and recorded. Species richness, the
numb ~ r
of species and the Shannon­
Wiener's diversity index were calculated as measures of assemblage characteristics (Clarke &
Warwick 1994). H ierarchical agglomerative clustering by using the program CLU STER of the
PRIMER software package (Clarke & Warwick 1994) produces a dendogram of the similarity
matrix . Non-metric multidimensional scaling (MDS) was used to do determine community
assemblages. An analysis of similarity, through non-parametric procedures (ANO SIM, PRIMER,
Clarke & Warwick 1994), were performed to test for similarity and dissimilarity of the different
bird assemblages between the different habitats.
Small mammals
The small mammals survey was conducted in May 1999. The Conservation Unit was stratified
into two habitat types, based on the presence of predominantly sandy or clay soils. Six trapping
grids were placed w ithin each of these habitat types. Each grid (100 X 100 m) comprised 100
trapping stations at 10 m intervals. Shennan live traps (8 X 9 X 23 cm) were set in the afternoon
and baited with a mixture of peanut butter, raisins and oats. The traps were checked and closed
every morning. Trapping was done over four consecutive days for each grid. Trapped individual s
were checked for identification marks, identified, sexed and marked through toe-clipping . The
grid number, station number, species, sex and mark number were recorded at each capture and
the individual released at the capture sight. The densities for each species per g rid were
detennined as the minimum number alive (MNA) (Chitty & Phipps 1966). Species richness was
fro m
METHODOLOGY (Krebs 1997).
Other Nocturnal Mammals
The survey to identifY other nocturnal mammals on the Conservation Unit was conducted from
April to September 1999, at intermittent time intervals, for periods up to four days at a time.
Animal burrows, waterholes, animal carcasses and game trails were surveyed for the presence of
nocturnal species such as the porcupine (Hystrix africaeaustralis), aardvark (Orycteropus afer)
and brown hyaena (Hyaena hnmnea) . A single infra-red triggered 35mm camera setup w as used
over a total of36 days, covering nine preselected areas over a four day period. The areas chosen
for setting up the camera were investigated for recent animal activities such as fresh t racks, dung,
23 etc. The waterhole closest to the northern boundary with the M csdene Nature Reserve, as well
as one of the active porcupine burrows, were covered on two separate occasions. All the other
sites were covered on a single occasion. A complete description of the techniques, technical
difficulties encountered and possible solutions to these problems are provided in Appendix 3.
A total of 72 bird species were recorded during the bird survey. The total species number and the
Shannon-Wiener diversity index estimated for the survey are given in Table 3. The mean species
number for the Conservation U nit is 5.84 ± 0.67 bird species per transect. The MDS ordination
of the 44 transects based on the square root transformed abundances and Bray-Curtis similarities,
indicated a stress value of 0.22 . The stress value falls within the 0.2 - 0.3 range and should
therefore be interpreted w ith scepticism (Clarke & Warwick 1994).
Small mammals
Four rodent species and three insectivore species were captured during the trapping survey. The
two shrew individuals (either Crocidura or Mysorex) could not be identified to species level and
the tree squirrel (Paraxerus cepapi), a diurnal species, was excluded from the data base when
calculating rodent species richness and diversity. The estimated minimum number alive (MNA)
for rodents within the Conservation Unit is presented in Table 4.
Other nocturnal mammals
The camera and infrared data loggers were set up for a total of 448 hours, during w hich the
infrared beam was triggered on a l OS occasions. A total of 25 photographs were taken, o f w hich
12 were taken when testing the camera equipment after the setup was completed . Thirteen
photographs offoUT different species were taken on five separate occasions. These included five
photographs of two individual white rhinoceros (Ceratotherium simum) of unknown sex on tw o
occasions at the same w aterhole. A single photograph was taken of a brown hyaena (Hyaena
bnmnea) at the same waterhole, one photograph of a single honey badger (Me llivora capensis)
of unknown sex entering what appears to be an abandoned porcupine burrow, and a total of six
photographs of an unknown number of porcupines on two occasions at two different burrows.
24 Discussion
A total of 325 bird species have been recorded for the region (Tarboton 1977). This figure
includes 64 species known as summer migrants and 64 species which are vagrants and sporadic
visitors. The total figure also includes raptors, nocturnal birds and winter migrants, enumerated
through surveys done over extended periods of time. Of the 325 bird species for the region, only
176 birds species occur within the terrestrial savanna.
Ninety two species of birds documented were noted on the Conservation Unit during the
study period (Appendix 4). These do not include most nocturnal birds, the Egyptian Goose
(Alopochen aegyptiaclls) and Spurwinged Goose (Plectroplerus gambensis) that were associated
with newly established wetlands on the Unit. The three nocturnal birds of prey typical of the area,
i.e. th e W hite faced Owl (OlliS leucolis), Pearlspotted Owl (Glaucidium p erlalum) and Spotted
Eagle Owl (Bubo africanus) were seen during the day and thus are included in Appendix 4.
The bird transect surveys resulted in 72 bird species being recorded. Recent agricultural
activity, along with the time of year when the single bird survey was conducted, contributes to
the relatively low number of species reco rded at the time. The mult ivariate statistical analysis
suggests that all birds occurring on the U nit can be placed into a single community. Discriminant
species for each of the habitat types coul d however be identified.
The Scaly-feathered Finch (Sporopipes squamifrons) is a discriminant species for habitats
on clay soils, whether shrubs and/ or trees were present or not. The Grassland P ipit (Anthus
cinnamomeus), C rowned Plover (Vanelilis coronalus) and Swainson's Francolin (Francolinlls
swainsonii) are consistently discriminant for habitats on clay soil s with no woody elements
present. These are mainly the old cultivated fields within the Tagetes minuta - Cynodon dactylon
old fields . T he B lue Waxbill (Uraeginthus angolensis) and Rufous-vented Titbabler (Parisoma
subcaeruleum) are discriminant species for the clay soils with only trees and shrubs present, for
instance within the Acacia torlillis - Acacia nilolica thorny woodland and Sporobolus africanum
- Acacia karm o thornveld.
The Fork-tailed D rongo (Dicrurus adsimilis) is the discriminant specIes for open
vegetation (open grassland and open tree veld) on both the clay and sandy soils . No discriminant
bird species were identified for the sandveld with dense stands of shrubs and trees. The Southern
Black Tit (parus niger) and Arrow-marked Babbler (Turdoides jardineii) are discriminant species
25 Table 3. The total number of bird species (mean ± standard error) and Shannon-Wiener diversity index (mean ± standard error) for the Conservation
Unit and for four different habitat types on the C onservation Unit, Cinergy Game Farm, Northern Province.
Habitat Type
Number of transects
Total number species
Shannon Diversity Index
Mean ± SE
M ean ± SE
Conservation Unit
5.84± 0.67
1.27 ± 0.11
Habitats on clay and sandy soils
8.10 ± 1.44
5.08 ± 0.99
8.13 ± 0.99
1.64 ± 0.11
3.41± 0.51
0.88 ± 0.14
with no trees and shrubs
Habitats on clay and sandy soils
with trees and shrubs
Habitats on clay soils whether trees
and shrubs present or not
Habitats on sandy soils whether
trees and shrubs present or not
26 Table 4. MNA for small mammals captured within habitats on sandy and clay soils for the different management units (number in brackets indicates
the time since agricultural disturbance has elapsed) during the small mammal survey on the Conservation Unit, Cinergy Game Farm, Northern
Habitats on sandy soils
4 (16-20)
13 (10-15)
16 (30)
19 (30)
20 (1-4)
2 1 (>30)
22 (>30)
6 (>30)
10 (16-20)
Mastomys coucha
Dendromys melanotis
Elephantulus branchyrynchus
Tatera leucogaster
Management unit number
Tatera brantsii
Habitats on clay soils
Management unit number
1 (>30)
Mastomys coucha
Dendromus melanotis
Elephantulus brachyrynchus
Tatera leucogaster
Tatera brantsii
27 within the open sandveld vegetation types, like the Eragrostis pallens - Combretum zeyheri and
the Digitaria brazzae - Terminalia sericea which consists of open long grass, shrubs and trees.
The broadleaved savanna of the mixed bushveld are characterised by generalist bird
species that congregate into bird parties. These bird parties consist of species such as the Fork­
tailed Drongo, Southern Black Tit and Chin-spot Batis (Batis molitor) which tends to attract
other species including the Arrow-marked Babbler, Red-billed Woodhoopoe (Phoeniclilus
purpllreus), Long-billed Crombec (Sylvietta rujescens) and W hite helmet Shrike (Prionops
plumatlls). This phenomena explains the high standard deviation around the mean for both the
species number and species diversity for the transects covering the habitats on the sandy soils
(Table 3).
Small mammals
The Nylsvley Nature Reserve supports 35 rodent and insectivore species, of which 15 species are
terrestrial. The present trap pi ng survey was, however, not designed to include species such as
Juliana ' s golden mo le (Amblysomlls julianae), southern African hedgehog (Atelerix frontalis) ,
porcupine (Hystrix africaeaustralis) and springhare (Pedeles campesis). Several terrest rial ro dent
species typical for the region, including Aethomys chrysophilus, Lemniscomys rosalia , M us
minutoides and Rhabdomys pumilio, and more uncommon rodents species including Saccostomus
campestris, Dendromus mystacalis and Graphiurus murinus, w ere not captured during the
trapping survey. However, Lemniscomys rosalia and Rhabdomys pumilio are crepuscular and
diurnal and thus would not have been trapped during the present survey (see Skinner & Smi thers
Eight small mammal species were caught during the small mammal survey. The tree
squirrel (Paraxeros cepapi), two shrew individuals along with the four rodent species and a single
elephant shrew species were captured, and are used in the species richness calculations for small
mammals on the Conservation Unit Mastomys coucha (sensu lato) was the most common species
trapped, especially on recently disturbed habitat types such as the Tagetes minuta - Cynodon
d9ctylon old fields, Cynodon dactylon - Hyperthelia dissolata mixed grasslands as w ell as on
management unit 19 which is part of the Sporobolus africanum - Acacia karroo thornveld .
Sections of the Acacia tortillis - Acacia nilotica thorny woodland had been left
undisturbed by the agricultural activities, resulting in a more complex vegetation structure for
28 feeding guilds and niches to be filled by the small mammals for this vegetation type. The Acacia
tortillis - Acacia nilotica thorny woodland (Management unit 1) supported more rodent species
than the other vegetation types on clay soils (Table 4) . The rodents occurring here include
Mastomys coucha, Tatera leucogaster and T brantsii, as well as the elephant shrew Elephantulus
The Eragrostis pallens - Burkea ajricana vegetation types accounted for three different
rodents being captured. The Eragrostis pallens - Combretum zeyheri plant community variation
of the Eragrostis pallens - Burkea africana vegetation type only produced a low number of
Tatera leucogaster. Within management units 4 and 13 of the Cynodon dactylon - Hyperthelia
dissolata mixed grassland and management unit 10 of the Eragrostis pallens - Ochna pulchra
dense woodland all three rodents, Tatera leucogaster, Dendromys melanotis and Mastomys
coucha were recorded .
Mastomys coucha domi nated recently disturbed habitats on the clay soils, whereas the
habitats within the Acacia tortillis - Acacia nilotica thorny woodland contain two additional
rodent species (Tatera leucogaster and T brantsii) and the elephant shrew (Elephantulus
branchyrynchus). The habitats within the Eragrostis pallens - Burkea africana vegetation types,
support a larger number of species within the younger vegetatio n stands, i. e. the Cynodon
dactylon - Hyperthelia dissolata mixed grassland dominated by the grass layer, than the habitats
situated within the Eragrostis pallens - Combretum zeyheri plant communities.
Other nocturnal mammals
On the first occasion of photographing the porcupines, at least one male and one female could
be identified entering and exiting the burrow entrance. T he sequence of events could be foll owed
by arranging the photographs according to the date and time. After the initial success, the first
porcupine burrow was monitored for a second four day period but no further photographs of any
animals were taken. This second occasion at the burrow, along with a setup at a red hartebeest
(Alcelaphus bllselaphus) carcass, an active aardvark burrow, and at the original w aterhole where
the first white rhinoceros photos were taken, but at a different access game path, resulted in no
photographs being taken.
29 Summary of the plant and animal surveys
The vegetation of the Conservation Unit corresponds well with the general description for mixed
savanna vegetation types based on' broad-leaved savannas on well drained sandy soils, and
microphyllous thorn savanna on the clay rich soil areas, similar to the study done in the Nylsvley
Nature Reserve (Coetzee, Van der M eulen, Zwanzigar & Weisser 1976), The vegetation on the
sandy soils was exposed to disturbances varying from exclusion of grazing and browsing, removal
of aboveground natural vegetation through deep ploughing, and the continuous disruption of
woody species development through annual mowing of the grass layer. The vegetation type is
therefore subdivided into five variations, depending on the composition of the plant communities,
and the response of the indigenous species to disturbances caused by agriculture practices ,
The vegetation types on the clay rich soils were exposed to higher levels of soil
disturbance, Disturbances included the removal of all aboveground natural vegetation through
deep ripping and ploughing of the topsoil, the continuous mixing of the upper soil horizons
through annual ploughing, the addition of various nutrients and minerals and the application of
herbicides and pesticides on the established agricultural monoculture. The exotic weeds and other
pioneer species that occur on the recently abandoned old fields on the clay ri ch soils do not seem
to discriminate between the management units on the clay and the sandy soil areas. The
management units that fall within this category have either black vertic clay soils with a loamy
layer on top, or a red basalt with a sandy layer on top. The different vegetation types in these
areas are classified , based on the age and level of successional development of the different
management units, rather than on the soil characteristics.
The savanna bird community on the Conservation Unit is do minated by seed-eating birds
both in density and species numbers. This bias could be credited to the amount offood available
to the seed-eating bird species from the agricultural activities in the past. The ostrich is the only
species t hat has been reintroduced onto the Conservation Unit since the agricultural practices
were stopp ed.
There is an estimated total of 67 mammal species within the Nylsvley Nature Reserve
(Jacobsen 1977). A total of 28 mammals were either observed, photographed or caught during
the study period within the Conservation Unit. The multimammate mouse is the predominant
species occurring within the most recently disturbed areas. Their numbers appear to decrease,
whilst other small mammal number increase, in the areas either not disturbed by agricultural
30 activity, or being restored from previous man-induced disturba!1(;es. The bushveld gerbil is the
only species that occurs within all the sandy soil habitats, as opposed to the multimanunate mouse
and the grey climbing mouse which prefer the sandy soil areas with long grass and no tree or
shrub cover. Bushveld gerbil numbers appear to decrease, however, with an increased presence
of woody elements within their habitats.
The ground surveys enabled the construction of an inventory on which to base part of the
management plan. Species lists of mammals, birds and plants encountered during the study period
on the Conservation Unit are presented in Appendix 4.
Ecological principles relevant to the development of a Management P lan for the Conservation
Unit of the Cinergy Game Farm are determined by the objectives stipulated for the M anagement
Plan. A generic description of these ecological principles, as well as a description of the applicable
management techniques, will be given for each objective. Chapter 5 will deal with the
management operations in terms of the hierarchal management framework as a conceptual model,
so as to advise on specific details for the application of the different ecological principles to ful fi l
the requirements set out by the objectives.
Objective 1
To contribute to the conservation ethic by consolidating land previously exposed to land use practises other than conservation into a unit with characteristics typ ical of an indigenous, self­
sustaining natural system. Ecological principles underlying objective 1 apply to management level 2, 3, 4 & 6 of the hierarchal management framework. The ecological principles that apply to objective 1 are: 1. Intermediate disturbances and the maintenance ofdiversity. Disturbances have been viewed as irregular and uncommon events that cause abrupt structural changes in natural communities, resulting in ecosystems moving away from their dynamic and / or static equilibriums (parker & Pickett 1997). Principles of point equilibrium and static stability, characterised by equilibrium concepts, assume that ecosystems will return to a previous equilibrium after perturbation. However, in light of the changes in the ecological paradigm, disturbance is taken as a discrete, punctuated killing, displacement, or damaging of one or more individuals or colonies, that creates immediate opportunity for new individuals or colonies to colonise that area (Sousa 1984). This management plan subscribes to the concept of non-equilibrium theory. Disturbance
regimes vary considerably over temporal and spatial scales (Sousa 1984). Characteristics of
disturbances are usually described as follows (for examples: see Sousa 1984):
32 1. Spatial extent - size of disturbance area.
2 . Magnitude - two components.
a. Severity - measure of the damage.
b. Intensity - measure of strength.
3. Frequency - number of disturbances per unit time.
a. Random point frequency - mean number of disturbances per unit time at random
point in the an area.
b. Regional frequency - total number of disturbances in an area per unit time.
4. Predictability - measure the variance in mean time between disturbances.
5. Turnover rate - mean time required to disturb the entire area.
Based on these principles, the highest level of biological diversity may be attained at intermediate
levels of disturbance (Petraitis, Latham & Niesenbaum 1989). Intermediate disturbance implies
varying the characteristics of disturbances as set out by Sousa (1984). Agents of disturbance can
be either physical or biological processes. Examples of physical disturbances include fire, flo ods,
drought, landslides and ice storms. Predation, digging by burrowing animals and grazing are seen
as fonus of biological disturbances. The management plan for the Conservation Unit is primarily
concerned with bush clearing and fire as physical agents of disturbance, and grazing and simulated
predation as agents of biological disturbance.
2. Ecological succession induces environmental heterogeneity.
Succession is defined as 'the non-seasonal, directional and continuous pattern of colonisation and
extinction on a site by species populations' (Begon, Harper & Townsend 1990). Successional
trajectories are typically defined from primary succession, i. e. soil fo rmation and initial
colonisation of weedy species. Initial secondary succession such as herbaceous perennials are then
followed by mid- and late successional stages such as shrubs and mature old growth trees.
The classical definition of succession implies a directional, cumulative, non-rando m change
in species composition that results in a static, climax community. Ecosystems have been regarded
to reach stable successional endpoints, after which system processes maintain the ecosystem in
a dynamic equilibrium. Ecosystems were seen as closed and self regulating, with internal control
over the flow of minerals and energy. All the processes within the ecosystems were regarded to
be deterministic, and any external process or event was considered a disturbance. As such,
33 disturbances were considered as exceptional events (Parker & Pickett 1997).
The contemporary paradigm assumes that ecosystems are open, regulated by internal and
external processes, and are subject to frequent natural disturbances. M ultiple, alternating
successional pathways result in community dynamics which include cycles, equilibria or chaotic
trajectories (pickett & Parker 1994). Ecological theory now also recognizes disturbance-induced
discontinuous and irreversible conununities, and the importance of stochastic effects in succession
(Wyant, Meganck & Ham 1995) These concepts imply that the full recovery of an ecosystem is
not always possible due to potential environmental and biological constraints.
Objective 2
To restore the consolidated land into a singular unit, where natural and indigenous processes with
faunal and floral elements typical of the region prior to disturbances evoked by man, dominate
Ecological principles underlying objective 2 apply to management levels 3, 5 & 6 of the hierarchal
management framework. The ecological principles that apply to objective 2 are :
1. Demographic processes and maintenance of viable populations.
The four demographic processes that are essential to the maintenance of viable populations are
birth, death, emigration and immigration. Population dynamics, as determined by the demographic
processes, include the number of individuals within the population, the sex ratio and the age class
composition . Dispersal of offspring away from their place of birth, together with migration are
important, but difficult to quantifY demographic processes. O pportu nities for dispersal by
individuals from a population become limited if the conservation area is surrounded by areas
exposed to habitat destruction and habitat transformation.
Fragmented habitats, resulting in unsuitable habitat surrounding protected areas, therefore
inhibit the dispersal and migrational abilities of individuals from their birth place to surrounding
populations. D ispersal of individuals ensures genetic vitality between populations, strengthens
social structures and ensures healthy population dynamics. The majority of species within the
Conservation Unit are able to disperse effectively. However, the larger game species introduced
to the Conservation Unit will have to be exposed to artificial dispersal. This is achieved through
simulating natural dispersal through active relocation programs and further re-introductions .
These demographic processes are closely linked to the ecological theory applicable to the
34 management of small populations within the meta-population
th ~ory
discussed under objective
2. Predation and competition increases and maintains diversity.
Predation and competition are closely inter-linked with one another. Together they mould the
structure of communities and are therefore important for the maintenance of diversity.
Interspecific competition may determine which species can, and in what number they occur within
the community. Selective or general predation also determines community structure, pending
preference prey. Selective predation can lower the diversity if the preferred species are
competitively inferior, but increase diversity if the preferred species are competitively superior.
Exploiter-mediated coexistence occurs where predation ensures the existence of species
that would otherwise be excluded due to competitively dominant species . Generalist predators can
increase the diversity within a community through the exploiter-mediated coexistence. The
competitively dominant species will be the most abundant and therefore exploited at higher rates
by predation. Predation, such as grazing, is a form of disturbance, and therefore linked to the
intermediate disturbance hypothesis. Intermediate predation will increase diversity, since a low
predator density will exclude competitively inferior species, and a high predator density could lead
to over exploitation of the preferred prey species (Begon, Harper & Townsend 1990).
Objective 3
To develop a conservation ethic amongst all stakeholders so as to enhance and maintain biological
diversity through a pro-active conservation management operation. Pro-active management
involves all levels of the hierarchal management framework. Biodiversity is defined as the 'total
variety oflife on earth. It includes all genes, species and ecosystems and the ecological processes
of which they are part' (reBP 1992; In Gaston 1996). Enhancing and maintaining biodiversity
(structure) involves the management (control) of the ecological processes (functions). The
simulation of natural disturbances and predation at intermediate levels, along with the dispersal
processes described for Objectives 1 & 2, are the main fo cus points for the pro-active
management approach.
Facilitating the successional processes implies the management of induced disturbances,
as opposed to awaiting natural disturbances. These management induced disturbances include
35 actions such as bush clearing, slashing of weedy species and
burning. The disturbance
regime for the Conservation Unit has until recently consisted mainJy of agricultural activities
directed at maximizing production. This included mowing the grass layer to eliminate woody
elements for higher grass production and ploughing land for monocultural production. The
suggested management actions to stimulate, facilitate and manipulate successional development
of the various management units differ from those induced to maximise productivity, not only in
scale, but also in frequency, magnitude and timing.
Simulating the demographic processes for the large game species includes the addition and
removal of individuals from the various population. Stimulating and assisting the demographic
processes for small mammals, medium-sized predators and other nocturnal animals within the
Conservation Unit would include alleviating the constraints set by the game proof fence
surrounding the area. The selection for addition and removal of individuals of the large game
species will depend on species specific response to disturbance, their social structure and habitat
Obj ective 4
To develop a self-sustaining game breeding enterprise which will supply for some of the needs of
other animal breeders and conservationists. The underlying ecological principles for Objective 4
applies to management level 4 of the hierarchal management framework. The ecological principles
underlying Objective 4 are:
Minimum viable p opulations and the meta-population thealy.
Minimum viable populations have several factors to consider such as genetic factors, demographic
and environmental stochasticity, and social dysfunctions (Simberloff 1988). The management of
small populations, such as those on the Conservation Unit, includes several of these genetic
factors that could play a role in the viability of the different populations. These factors include the
effective population size, inbreeding depression, genetic drift, loss of genetic variation and genetic
bottlenecks. The different species within the Conservation Unit will be specific in their responses
to these factors . An important aspect for conservation is to maintain as much variation as possible
through unrestricted interbreeding in large populations (Simberloff 1988). The demographic and
environmental stochasticity and social dysfunctions along with the different genetic factors, are
36 mainly theoretical and the empirical proof of population persistence are not sufficient (Simberloff
Habitat fragmentation is said to be the single greatest challenge to conservation
management (Simberloff 1988) . The management of fragmented populations with no suitable
habitat linking the different populations are complex. The meta-population theory, i.e. the
management of small populations and linking of the fragmented habitats, gives the manager of any
conservation area important underlying ecological principles on which to base their management
decisions .
Objective 5
To enact and maintain some self-sustaining leisure activities to the benefit of the owner and his
family. Management principles that underwrite Objective 5 are applicable to management level
5 of the hierarchal management framework. The leisure and ecotourism principle should be based
on all activities that are non-intrusive to the wildlife and vegetation within the Conservation Unit.
These include activities that limits noise or any other form of pollution, limits the physical damage
to the envirorunent and do not harass wildlife. Applying these principles will soon pay, with
wildlife becoming habituated to the presence of man - increasing the photographic possibilities
with the wildlife and the general enj oyment of nature.
Several management decisions and actions have been taken for the Conservation Unit over the
time period of this study. These include the removal of artificial structures (i.e. building rubble,
concrete pipes, electric and fence cables), the removal of some exotic vegetation, the fencing of
the Conservation Unit with a ten foot high electrified game fence, the establishment of an anti­
poaching patrol unit and the reintroduction of some large ungulate species typical of the region .
Assisting the management actions to be taken on the Conservation Unit is the design of
a hierarchal management framework. The hierarchal management framework is designed to
alleviate the constraints of dealing with 23 managements units within the Conservation Unit of
753 hectares. It is essentially a conceptual framework, developed with respect to the scale against
which the management actions should be applied.
The hierarchal management framework involves dividing the Conservation Unit into six
different management levels. The Conservation Unit and the immediate surroundings are placed
at the top level, followed by the Conservation U nit as an insular entity at the second level. On the
third level the Unit is divided into two sections based on soil types, i. e. clay soils and sandy soils.
The fourth level is based on the various vegetation types and plant community variations, and at
the fifth level the 23 management units. The sixth level di vide the different management units into
smaller hectare blocks of varyi ng sizes.
The management actions suggested for the Conservation Unit will have several
implications for the different biological components within the area. Monito ring th ese components
should indicate whether the management actions fulfil the requirements as set out in the
Objectives for Cinergy Game Farm. Although the suggested management actions are based on
ecological principles they may have unforseen consequences or outcomes, such as the inability of
species to recolonise the Conservation U nit. Predicting the outcome of the management actions,
as well as making the necessary recommendations with regard to potential changes is dependant
on a good monitoring and evaluation system. An effectively designed monitoring and evaluation
plan must be practical in its application, time and cost effective, deliver reliable and accurate
results and be continuous, even with a change of managers. It is essential that the monitoring be
38 handled by qualified ecologists.
Describing the different management actions in accordance to the hierarchal management
framework will'begi n at the lowest level of the framework, i.e. where the management units are
sub-divided, progressing through all levels until all the levels have been covered.
Management level 1
Management level 1 is designed to assist with the removal of all unnatural elements and exotic
vegetation Man-made structures, for instance pieces of fence wire, concrete boulders, fence
poles, as well as the scars and leftovers of previous agricultural practices in the Conservation Unit.
Although considerable time and effort has been spent to remove these structures, fo llow up
operations need to be undertaken. These management actions are designed to fu lfil the
requirements of Objectives 2 & 3.
Each management unit must be subdivided into areas of a practical size for sweeping
purposes. Sweeping involves individuals walking a predetermined distance apart, depending on
the thickness of the vegetation, in a specific direction, keeping the distance between them as even
as possible. The individuals participating in this exercise should then remove all the unnatural
elements within the specified area, as well as point out and or mark the positions of exotic
vegetation to the hacking team. D epending on the intensity to which these actions conducted, a
single sweep should be sufficient for the removal of all the man-made structures.
The line of sweepers are followed by a hacking team(s). A hacking team consists of
individuals who remove any exotic vegetation that is spotted and identified by the line of
sweepers. Hacking teams are mainly concerned with the removal of invasive and aggressive exotic
species. Aggressive and transformer exotic species have certain competitive abilities, e.g. the
production of allelo-pathogens to inhibit the establishment of natural vegetation. The aggressive
exotics occurring on the Conservation Unit cannot be eradicated through natural successional
processes. These species should not however be confused with the indigenous pioneer and weedy
A list of exotic vegetation encountered during the study period is given in Table 5. For
each species the scientific name and potential means of elimination are provided. The removal of
exotic vegetation can also be assisted through the management of natural succession. This
principle applies mai nly to the weedy pioneers of old fields. Pioneer exotic and other weedy
39 species tend to establish themselves in areas where severe distur~ances of the upper soil layers
have occurred. P art ofthe successful removal ofthese weedy and pioneer exotics species includes
the prevention of any fu rther excessive top soil disturbances.
The mechanical removal of Jacaranda mimosijolia and Melia azedarach t rees, and the
two cactus species, Cereus peruvianlls and Opuntia ficus-indica, involves initial clearing of the
individual plants, their removal and the destruction of the plant material through burning and
burying. The latter two species are renowned for their ability to re-establish vegetatively through
pieces of broken plant material that fall on the ground during the elirllination process or when
transporting the material to be burned or buried. Essential to the initial success of removing exotic
vegetation are the annual follow up operations utilising the same sweeping techniques as proposed
for the removal of human structures. This is done due to the propagation abilities of the exotic
plants from outside the Conservation Unit. It must be emphasised that these sweeping actions for
the removal of exotic vegetation only solve the problem temporarily, and that more permanent
solutions must deal with the cause of the exotic vegetation problem. This also applies to the
education of staff members with regard s to preventing the distribution of any unnatural elements
both within and outside the Conservation Uni t, as well as establishing ornamental garden plants
with aggressive and invasive characteristics.
Management level 2
The current design of management units are a direct result of the historical agricultural practices
to w hich the area now defined as the Conservation Unit has been exposed. The imposed
agricultural disturbances include the clearing of aboveground vegetation, the deep ploughing of
certain blocks of land, the addition of minerals and nutrients, the establishment of monoculture
of crop-producing species, and the annual mowing of grass to suppress the establishment of
woody species. Portions of the property were exposed to grazing by cattle and sheep . Fire was
excluded from the area for some 30 years. The management actions proposed for management
level 2 fulfill the requirements as set by Objectives 1, 2 & 3.
Management units 1 & 2 of the Acacia tortillis - Acacia nilotica thorny woodland veld types are
situated on soils with a relatively high clay content and have experienced little agriculturally
induced disturbances. Management unit 1 was, however, ploughed on a single occasion in 1973
40 Table 5. Species name, common name, invasive characteristic and management strategy for exotic vegetation on the Conservation Unit, Cinergy
Game Farm, Northern Province.
Species name
Common name
Invasive characteristic
Management strategy
Argemone mexicana
Yellow-fl owered Mexican poppy
Pioneer weed
Natural succession
Argemone subfusiformis
White - flowered Mexican poppy
Pioneer weed
Natural succession
Perennial weed
Natural succession
Waltheria indica
Cereus p entvianus
Queen of the night
Aggressive invasive
Mechanical removal
Opuntia fiCUS-indica
Prickley pear
Aggressive invasive
Mechanical removal
Datura ferox
Large thorn-apple
Pioneer weed
Natural succession
Datura stramonium
Common thorn-app le
Pioneer weed
Natural succession
Xanthium spinosllm
Spiny cocklebur
Pioneer weed
Natural succession
Xanthillm strumarillm
Pioneer weed
Natural succession
Zinnia p entviana
Redstar Zinnia
Pioneer weed
Natural succession
Bidens bipinnata
Pioneer weed
Natural succession
Schkuhria pinnata
Dwarf marigold
Pioneer weed
Natural succession
Tagetes minllta
Tall Khaki Weed
P ioneer weed
Natural succession
Jacaranda mimosifolia
Aggressive invasive
Mechanical removal
M elia azedarach
Aggressive invasive
Mechanical removal
41 and the tree layer now consists mainly of Acacia nilotica and Acacia tortillis of similar dimensions
and presumably of similar age. Tree density is high, probably as a consequence of this
management unit not having been exposed to fire and grazing regimes, which would have reduced
the establishment of Aeacia species. The high Acacia density is apparently inhibiting the
development of the grass and herb layers in this unit, probably as a consequence of competiti on
for resources such as water and nutrients (Stuart-Hill, Tainton & Barnard 1987). The removal of
randomly selected trees and shrubs of any size should create opportunity for productive grass
species, such as Panicllm coloratum and Eragrostis heteromera, along with other herbaceous
plants to recolonise the area. Removal should continue until the figure for density of woody
elements varies between 1000-1200 per hectare (Professor George Bredenkamp \ pers. comm.)
Management unit 2 has not been exposed to agricultural activities other than grazing by
domesticated animals. No further human induced disturbance is recommended . Natural
disturbances regimes discussed at the next level, i.e. fire and herbivory, will be used for
management unit 2.
The Sporobolus ajricanum - Acacia karroo thornveld plant community includes management
units 16, 17 and 19. Management unit 16 was exposed to a single ploughing event 30 years ago .
The tree layer is dominated by various Acacia species, most of which are within the same height
class and thus presumably of similar age. The randomly selected removal of individuals of any size
should continue until the woody elements reaches a density of 1000-1 200 individuals per hectare
(P rofessor George Bredenkamp, pers. comm.). This will faci litate the colonisation of shrubs,
grasses and other herbaceous elements typical o f the rni crophyllous thorn savanna such as
Panicum coloratum, Eragrostis heteromera and Eragrostis lehmanianna. Management unit 17
had all t rees and shrubs removed around 30 years ago and was ploughed annually for 25 years.
This area has been exposed to the mowing ofgrasses to inhibit shrub and tree establishment, thus
enhancing productivity for grazing animals. As a consequence, the grass layer appears well
established with woody elements such as Acacia nitotiea, A. tortillis and A. karroo having started
to colonise the area. Here cattle foraging, controlled through electrical fences, can be used to
intensify grazing so as to ensure the reduction of pioneer and unpalatable grass species such as
Prof. George Bredenkamp, Department of Botany, University of Pretoria, Pretoria,
Sporoboilis ajricanlls, Aristida canescens, Melenis repens and He teropogon contortus.
Management unit 19 was cleared of all woody elements some 30 years ago but has since become
reestablished . The only form of disturbance since then has been grazing by cattle and sheep. No
further forms of human induced disturbances are recommended for management unit 19. N atural
disturbance regimes discussed at the next levels will be applied to the management of management
unit 19.
The Tagetes minuta - Cynodon dactylon old fields are the most recently ploughed fields within
the Conservation Unit, and consist of management units 3, 7, 9 and 18. The vegetation on these
managements units are between 1-3 years old. These areas are dominated by various pioneer
exotics and indigenous plant species. Initiating the successional processes within these
management units consists mainly of slashing / mowing these areas to promote the colonization
of pioneer annual grass species typical of the region. Subsequent mowing of the grass layer at
different heights, within various seasons and at varying frequencies will promote the establislunent
of pioneer perennial grass species. Once woody elements start colonizing, mowing could be
replaced with manipulated natu ral disturbance regimes.
The Eragrostis pal/ens - Burkea africana vegetation type consists of five plant conununities. The
management actions designed for the various management units within the different plant
community variations do not necessarily comply with the plant conununity variation in w hich
these management units were placed. The management actions are based on whether the tree and
shrub layer are present or not.
M anagement units 6, 8, 2 1 and 22 of the Eragrostis pal/ens - Cambretum zeyheri
variation, management unit 15 of the Eragrostis pallens - Ochna pulchra variation and
management unit 11 of the Digitaria brazzae - Terminalia sericea variation are placed together
for management purposes. These management units, except for management unit 11 , were fenced
offand, with the exception of management unit 15, were exposed to cattle and sheep grazing fo r
over 30 years. These areas shows signs of bush encroachment, that is an increase in number of
woody individuals per species. The grass layer and other herbaceous elements have been out
competed by the woody elements.
Management unit 15 have been excluded from any grazing pressure due to the presence
of Dichapetalum cymosum. Ochna pulcra and Strychnos p ungcils have formed dense stands
within management unit 15. All individuals smaller than a certain size are currently being removed .
However, no follow up poisoning of the stumps is currently being undertaken. Coppicing of new
shoots from the stumps, as well as from the roots of mature individual trees will follow after the
first rainfall season. The coppicing of these woody elements could again out compete the grass
Management unit 11 was cleared of natural vegetation on a single occasion some 30 years
ago . Since then the area has been exposed to cattle and sheep grazing. Natural disturbance
regimes, discussed at the next two management levels, through fire and herbivory, will be the
preferred management strategies for management unit II .
The suggested disturbance action for management units 6, 8, 15,21 and 22 consist of
opening up the tree layer for the establishment of grasses. The edges of management units 6, 8
and 15 should be opened up, so as to break the dense established woody layer. All the
managements units (6, 8, 25, 2 1 and 22) should be exposed to random clearing of the woody
elements until between 1900 and 2200 individuals per hectare are achieved (Professor George
Bredenkamp, pers. comm.). This involves random selection and removal of individual trees and
shrubs of any species and of any size and height class (except for the mature and old growth
trees), and the smaller individuals of the same species surrounding it and removing them.
Management unit 10 ofthe Digitaria brazzae - Terminalia sericea vegetation type, management
unit 12 of Aristida stipitata - Aristida canescens short grassland vegetation type and management
units 4,5, 13 , 14 and 23 ofCynodon dactylon - Hyperthelia dissolata mixed grassland vegetation
types were all exposed to a single clearing, ploughing and then subsequent mowing of the grass
layer to suppress the establishment of trees and shrubs. The grass layer has therefore been well
established for a number of years and has only been exposed to one form of mechanical
disturbance on an annual basis. Assisting the establisrunent of woody elements is a priority within
these management units. This can be achieved by randomly selecting enclosed areas fo r intensive
grazing by cattle over very short periods of time. The areas exposed to this form of grazing must
be of vario us sizes and exposed at different times of the year. Further assistance in the
development of the plant community will be achieved through mani pulating the natural
disturbance regimes discussed at the next two management levels .
Management level 3
Actions for management level 3 are directed towards herbivory. Herbivory for any conservation
areas is mainly determined by suitable habitat for game species in conjunction with the
predetermined stocking rates and the biology of the game species in relation to their habitat
requirements, population dynamics and social structures. Management approaches are in
accordance with Objectives I, 2 & 3.
In this study veld condition is used as a surrogate for habitat suitability. The current veld
condition of the Conservation Uni t is dictated by the recent termination of agricultural practices
and the above average rainfall during the summer of 1999. The Tagetes m;nuta - CYllodon
dactylon old fields dominate large parts of the clay soils area. Management unit 19 cannot support
any grazers since there is very little grass present. The remainder of the management units are
dominated by pioneer w eedy species and have very little grass cover, consisting mainly of
Cynodon dactylon. The veld condition of the Tagetes minuta - Cynodon dactylon old fields
should improve with an increase in structure and function with increased successional
development. H owever, selective grazing should be minimized within these areas. Unselective
bulk grazing by mega-herbivores such as Mrican buffalo, B urchell's zebra and white rhinoceros
is p referable. These animals can tolerate pioneer annual and perennial species and create
possibilities for the colonisation of other more palatab le perennial grasses.
The veld condition is currently being determined through calculating the composition of
grass species, classified into Decreasers, Increasers 1a and 1b, and Increasers 2 and 3, depending
on their palatability, taste and nutritional value. Bare ground and the occurrence of small shrubs
and other herbaceous elements also counts against the veld condition of a specific area. T hese
measurements and criteria are based on the acceptability of these fo od sources to domesticated
animals. D etermining the veld condition fo r ecosystem management should rather investigate the
function and structure of the ecosystem, relate the findings to heterogeneity of habitat, and then
determine the potential stocking rate for the Conservation Unit.
Suitable habitat fo r the Eragrostis p allens - Burkea ajricana vegetati on type varies
considerably. Some areas shows very limited suitability, due to dense levels of bush encroachment
in the Eragrostis pal/ens - Ochna pulchra dense woodland with very little grass. Other areas
represent more suitable habitat within the Cynodon dactylon - Hyperthelia dissolata mixed
grassland, and the Artstida stipitata - Aristida canescens short grassland. These vegetation
45 variations are dominated by unpalatable grass species such as Hyp erthelia disso/ata, Aristida
stipitata, Aristida canescens, mixed with more palatable species such as Diheteropogon contortus
and Digitaria brazzae . Good veld management of the management units within the Eragrostis
pallens - Burkea africana vegetation type will lead to the establishment of an open tree savanna,
with palatable grasses dominating the shady areas underneath the trees and shrubs (e.g. Panicllm
sp.) and various grasses, either palatable or unpalatable, between the woody elements.
Annual precipitation figures are essential in determining veld condition and the stocking
rates for the Conservation U nit. Rainfall figures from the Nylsvley Nature Reserve, measured
from Ju ly
Ju ne, for the 1996-97, 1997-98 and 1998-99 are 668 mm, 496 mm and 565 mm
respectively. Rainfall for 1998- 1999 was below the average rainfall of 629 ± 118 mm per annum.
The average amount of rain over the last two rainfall years is 530 mm, accumulating to only 1060
mm over the two years. Determining the economic carrying capacity was therefore based on
conservative estimates. T he current stocking rate, excluding browsers, is 125 % of the present
economic carrying capacity. The total grazing capacity under average rainfall conditions for the
Conservation Unit is 13 .8 ha / LSU. The economic carrying capacity for the Unit based on the
total grazing capacity converts to a total of 49 LSU game, with average rainfall. The present
buffalo population (n=23) uses 47,3 % of the total LSU fo r the Unit. The white rhinoceros (n=6)
uses 30, 1 % and Burchell' s zeb ra (n=8) 8,9 % of the total LSU. This rep resents 86,3 % of the
total LSU game presently on the U nit being accounted fo r by unselective bulk grazers.
Selective grazers such as the red hartebeest, and the intermediate feeders such as the
impala, eland and warthog, contribute a total of32 % of the present stocking rate. The estimated
figures for impala and warthog are, however, biassed as these animals continuously move between
the U nit and neighbouring properties (personal observations). The current status of the bulk
grazers, the selective grazers and intermediate feeders within the Unit, their sex ratio' s and their
social structure are given in Table 6.
Habitat requirements (see Skinner & Smithers 1990) for these animals are achieved wit hin
the Conservation U nit. Buffalo require a plentiful supply of grass, shade and surface water.
Burchell's zebra require mainly open area woodland and grassland . The white rhinoceros has
more specific habitat requirements ranging from areas with short grass, stands of medium
Panicum sp., shallow waterholes for wallowing and adequate bush cover. Red hartebeest requires
open woodland and grassland, whereas the impala depends on ecotones and surface water. Eland
46 can occur in various types of woodland. Warthog depend on op;:;n ground, grassland, and open
areas surrounding shallow waterholes for wallowing. The different habitat requirements of these
herbivores appears to be met within the Conservation Unit. Successional development of the
various management units will increase the potential numbers of individuals that can be supported
by the Conservation Unit. Essential to the maintenance of genetic and reproductive fitness of the
small number of individuals of each species is the rotation of breeding individuals. Continual
removal of pre-selected males and females, and the timely introduction of new breeding
individuals should ensure the prevention of inbreeding.
Management level 4
Management level 4 divides the Conservation Unit into vegetation areas based on sandy soils and
vegetation areas dominated by soils with higher clay content. Vegetation in these areas responds
differently to fire. Management actions prescribing to fire management are in accordance with
Objectives 1, 2 & 3.
The two major app roaches to fire management include control over unwanted fires, and
the simulation of natural fi res. Irrespective of the source of the fire, the preparation and control
methods are similar. The fi rst step in controlling unscheduled fires is the preparation of the
Conservation Unit with fire fighting equipment and trained manpower, and having vehicles, water
carts, water hoses, spades and flame burners all in good working condition. Secondly, a good
communication system with the neighbouring landowners is also essential. Thirdly, fire breaks
should be maintained along the boundaries of the Conservation Unit. This should be done before
implementing any burn. Several techniques for creating a sufficient fire break have been proposed
for farm management. However, most of these techniques involve the removal of above ground
vegetation and topsoil through grading, which is against the conservation ethic underlying this
management plan. T he suggested technique makes use of the security road running next to the
perimeter fence. M owing the grass layer along the security road and, where possible, on the
outside of the fence, should ensure a wide enough fire break from which a back burn (against t he
wind direction) can be initiated. Annual mowing of the fire break strip during the dry season will
prevent the accumulation of fuel (dry plant material) to support unwanted runaway fi res. A fi re
break should also be established, using the same techniques, around the manager's house and the
47 Simulating natural fires within the confines of the Conservatio;1 Unit is a difficult procedure.
Historically the frequency and intensity of natural fires must have been affected by the
accumulation of dead plant material on the sandy relative to the clay soils area . P eriods of high
rainfall will also experience faster accumulation of burnable materiaL The intensity, frequency and
spatial extent of fires are dependant on a combination of variables. These include the frequency
and seasonality of ignition sources, the moisture content of the fuel, rate of fuel accumulation,
structural an d chemical characteristics of the fuel, the mosaic nature of the area and finally the
local weather conditions at the time of the fire (Sousa 1984).
The characteristics of the fire will vary according to the reasons for having to use a fire
on the Conservation Unit. Burning may be used to remove excessive lignified material, to
stimulate the growth of moribund grass tufts, to control parasites, to suppress the development
of small woody elements, or to manage bush density along with bush clearing activities . Different
types of fi re are needed to achieve these different goals.
To remove excessive lignified material, stimulate moribund grass tufts and control
parasites, a downwind surface wind should be utilised. Low intensity conditions can be achieved
through burning under cooler climatic conditions (ambient temperature < 20 0 e, relative humidity
> 50 % at moist soil conditions and low wind speed) with wind direction the same as the direction
of the fire. These conditions can be achieved by burning between 06h30 to 08h3 0 in the morning s,
four days or more after the first '" 15 mm of rain.
Implementing burning to suppress the development of small woody elements needs
backwind ground fire of high intensity. This can be achieved by burning under warmer conditions
(ambient temperature > 20°C, relative humidity < 50 %, with moist soil conditions and at low
wind speed) with a wind blowing in the opposite direction of the fire. Burning should be done
between lOhOO to 13hOO, again around four days after the fi rst '" 15 mm of rain.
M anaging bush encroachment with fire, along w ith bush clearing activities, requires a
downwind crown and high intensity surface fire . This can be achieved under warmer climatic
conditions (ambient temperature > 20 ° e, relative humidity of < 50%, with dry soil conditions)
at hig her wi nd speed range blowing in the same direction as the fire. Burning should be d one
before the first spring rains at the end ofthe dry season . Any area under co nsideration for burning
should have at least 2000 kg grass per hectare (prof George Bredenkamp, pers. com.).
It is important to note the remaining unburned area should be big enough to sustain foo d
Table 6. Recommended sex ratios and the social structure for the large mammals (Skinner & Smithers 1990) on the Conservation Unit, Cinergy Game
Farm, Northern Province.
Social structure
Malel Female
(1 /4)
1 Dominant Male: Females & Sub Adults: Bachelors
Burchell's zebra
1 Dominant Male: Females & Calves: Bachelors
White rhinoceros
I Territorial Male: Females & Sub Adults
Red hartebeest
1 Territorial Male: Females & Sub Adults: Bachelors
1 Dominant Male: Females & Sub Adults: Bachelors
1 Dominant Males: Females & Sub Adults: Bachelors
1 Dominant Male: Females & Sub Adults: Bachelors
49 resources for the animals after the burn . The burned area should, h.0wever, also be large enough
to accommodate animal numbers as soon as the new growth resprouts. The response to fire as
an agent of disturbance is different for the vegetation on sandy soils than the vegetation on clay
soils. Clay soils, with higher levels of nutrients and minerals, respond more quickly and
productively than sandy soils. Care should therefore be taken when exposing the vegetation on
clay soils to fire . O n clay soils minimum inter-burn frequency should be no less than every six
years and only during t imes with above average rainfall. The vegetation on sandy soils can be
exposed to fire every 3-5 years.
Several recent studies have suggested a new approach in fire strategies for protected and
other natural areas (B rockett, Biggs & Van Wilgen; in press; M entis & B ailey 1990). T hese
studies indicate the value of adapting a patch-mosaic burning system to promote the establishment
of habitat heterogeneity, by u sing rand om point ignitions under variable co nditions (intensities,
freque ncies, seasons, etc.). H owever, these burning strategies are o nly recommended for areas
larger than 20 000 hectares. The small area of the Conservation Unit does not lend itself to a
mosaic burning program. At this scale the block burning system is suitable. In this system the
different managements units within the different soil groups can be exposed to different and
variable fires, promoting the establishment of heterogeneity. Mo nito ring done by expert
ecologists, on the vegetation, successional pathways and community devel opment should indicate
if the resp onse of the ecosystem to fire has the desirabl e effect.
Management level 5
Management level 5 considers the Conservation Unit a singular entity. Management actio ns at this
level fulfil the requi rements set out in Objectives 3, 4 & 5. Management decisions o n the
positioning of artificial waterholes, roads and fences, the removal of selected large game species
above certain threshold levels, and leisure activities for the owner and his family will be discussed
in this section T he provision of artificial waterholes within any conservation area remains a
contentious issue. T hree basic questions need to be addressed with the planning of artificial
waterholes (Owen-Smith 1996). These are firstly the reasons for est ablishing artificial waterholes;
secondly the spacing between artificial waterholes and thirdly where within the conservation areas
artificial waterholes should be situated. The Conservation Unit of the C inergy fann does not have
natural perennial surface water available for game. At least four small depressions within the clay
50 rich soils act as temporal vleis within management unit 2. These ter.-lporary natural waterholes are
filled during the wet season, and dry up during the dry season. This annual cycle between the wet
and dry seasons and the corresponding filling and drying up of waterholes, corresponds well with
other protected areas (Walker, Emslie, Owen-Smith & Scholes 1987, Owen-Smith 1996).
Artificial waterholes have been established on the Conservation Unit. This, and the small size of
the Unit, has several management implications. These include the positioning, spacing, and
fluctuation of the water levels within waterholes.
The Conservation Unit has six artificial waterholes, four of which can be filled through
mechanical pumping. The other two depend on water runoff during the rainy season. All the
artificial w aterholes are situated within the Acacia tortillis - Acacia nilotica thorny woodland, the
Sporobolus africanum - Acacia woo thomveld and the Tagetes minuta - Cynodon dactylon old
fields. These are all vegetation types with clay rich soils, which improves on their w ater holding
capacity. The positioning of all waterholes on clay rich soils raises certain ecological concerns.
Water dependant herbivores will be attracted throughout the year to the various waterholes if they
remai n fill ed during the dry season. This could result in both high feeding pressure on the
vegetation around these waterholes, and severe trampling of the topsoil. Frequent and intense
disturbance throughout the year will impede on the establishment of ecosystem processes
including succession, sustainability ofresources and the reestablishment of biodiversity.
Several ecological guidelines have been made regarding the spacing of artificial waterholes
within different savanna types (Owen-Smith 1996). These guidelines, however, apply to larger
protected areas. The Cons.ervation Unit is too small to allow sufficient spacing between the
various waterholes. By following the pri nciple of rotating and fluctuating the water levels of the
artificial waterholes, the manager of the Conservation Unit can simulate the spacing of artifi cial
waterholes as applied to larger protected areas. This simulation of the spacing of artificial
waterholes should alleviate the disturbance pressure on the vegetation and topsoil surrounding
these waterholes. The recovery period for the vegetation should also flu ctuate to ensure the
establishment of a heterogenous patchiness within the Unit. The decision on how to control the
water levels of the various artificial waterholes should be based on information obtained while
monitoring veld condition of the areas in which the artificial water holes are situated.
The present road system on the Conservation Unit was designed to assist previous ow ners
in the management ofagricultural practices. These roads usually followed camp fence lines as well
51 as both the centre-pivot and rectangular shaped boundaries of the cJltivated fields (Figure 6). T his
resulted in too many small roads and other short cuts within the present Conservation Unit with
no particular function, and major roads running in straight lines. On conservation areas roads
should provide access to peripheral fence lines, to artificial water points or bomas (if applicable),
sites of interest and routes to staff and guest housing. The third function of roads, more
specifically the game viewing roads, should be for the personal benefit of the landowner. Ga me
viewing roads should be optimised so as to access as much of the Conservation Unit as possible .
. The proposed new road system will access all the vegetation types and areas of interest
not covered by the present road system (Figure 7). Certain sections of the new road, as well as
parts of the present road system, run through the Acacia tortillis - Acacia nilotica thorny
woodland, the Sporobolus africanum - Acacia karoo thornveld and the Tagetes minuta -
Cynodon dactylon old fi elds, all of which are situated on cl ay soils. These sections of the road
should be closed during times of high rainfall until the topsoil has dried out sufficiently. Failure
to do so may lead to the churning of the topsoil as well as excessive disturbance to the vegetation
The roads ru nning within the deep sandy soil areas should still be accessible for vehicles but
should be monitored fo r any excessive disturbance.
The foll owing techniques are proposed for closing the current roads and for establishment
of a new road system. The ro ads to be closed on the sandy soils should be blocked off at either
end. Almost all the roads running through the deep sand, and the fences along which they run,
have large amounts of sand heaped up next to the road. The closed off sections of these roads
should be refilled with this sand. This should be done using manpower and not mechanically with
heavy grading machines. The filled sections can then be sparsely covered with the branches that
were removed duri ng the clearing of the bush encroached areas.
The closure of road sections ru nning through the clay soils should be treated differently.
The clay content of the soils causes the upper layer to compact when a large amount of pressure
is applied. The closed sections of these roads should be ripped to a depth of30 cm in each vehicle
track. This must be conducted mechanically towards the end of dry season when the soil has dried
out. This procedure will break the compacted upper layer of the soil on the vehicle tracks and
assist in the re-establishment of vegetation. The closed sections can also be packed with branches
obtained during the clearing of the bush encroached areas. This will protect young seedlings that
might establish themselves along the abandoned vehicle tracks. The design, planning and
52 implementation of the new road system must be conducted so as to cause the least amount of
disturbance to the soil, vegetation and ani mals on the Conservation Unit. No mechanical clearing
of any vegetation and / or removal of topsoil must occur for establishment of the new road
The proposed new road should be clearly marked to limit confusion, resulting in vehicles
driving outside the predetermined areas . The new road system, as shown in Figure 7, is a
recommended plan. As far as possible should the new roads as suggested for the Conservation
Unit, only consists of two-wheel tracks. These two-wheel tracks should preferably run through
the centre and not between the management units, or vegetation ecotones.
The maintenance of sections ofthe present road system, along with the proposed new road
system should be of high priority. Under no circumstances should mechani cal maintenance such
as the grading of the top soil layer, be applied. The smoothing of roads due to excessive use must
be done manually, for example returning the sand that has been displaced to the side of the road
with spades, followed by a smoothing action by pulling a lightweight object (e.g. set of tyres tied
together with a solid weight on top) with a vehicle over the roads to be maintained . These actions
ensure that sand particles fill the holes that have formed in the roads without having to g rade these
roads. This would result in the removal and displacement ofthe topsoiL Closing the roads running
through the clay soil areas during periods of high rainfall is essential to successful maintenance
of all the roads w ithin the conservation areas.
Breeding of selected game species within the Conservation Unit fulfils the requirements
set out in Objective 3 & 4. The management of selected large game species like white rhinoceros,
Cape buffalo, eland and red hartebeest within the confines of the Conservation Unit will be
determined by two factors other than economic and financial considerations, and other related
market demands that determi ne the management actions to be taken for the game breeding
enterprise. They include, determining the annual stocking rates for the Conservation Unit and, the
selection process for removing individuals from the population as determined by the species
population dynamics.
The stocking rates for the Conservation Unit should be determined annually by an
individual with ecological training, based on the various veld condition measures and climatic
variables. These should then be related to information obtained through annual censusses. This
will assist with the decisions to be taken on the species, number of individuals and t he age / sex
53 ratio of individuals that should be removed. Ecological opinion w ith a theoretical background,
genetic considerations, the population biology and social structure of the selected species all needs
to be considered when adding or removing wildlife from the Conservation Unit.
Leisure activities for the owner and his family on the Conservation U nit are in accordance
with Objectives 3 & 5. Emphasis should be placed on non-intrusive eco-tourism activities which
include hiking, horse riding, wildlife photography and game viewing. The establishment of hiking­
and / or horse ri ding t rail s within the Conservation Unit should be do ne in accordance with the
standards set out for the management of the road system on the Conservation U nit. Game viewing
hides can be build at the water holes. The positioning of these hides should be of such a nature
that they will not intrude on game visiting the water holes. At the same time the maximum benefit
should be obtained by photographers and game viewers. Leisure acti vities must alw ays be
conducted so as to never harass or intimidate the wildlife. This should ensure that animals become
habituated to vehicles and horses, rather than becoming habituated to humans. Enforcing these
issues within the Conservation Unit will increase the safety of humans and wildlife alike.
Management level 6
M anagement level 6 includes the Conservation Unit of the Cinergy Game Farm with its
surrounding areas. M anagement actions suggested at level 6 of the hierarchal management
framework fu lfil the requirements set out in Objectives 1 & 3 . Issues regarding management
decisions and tactics include the control of exotic animals and plants entering the Conservatio n
Unit and the facilitation fo r dispersal of selected indigenous species. These issues are closely
related, since the first deals with preventing individuals from entering the Conservation Unit and
the second promotes the movement of individuals between the Conservation Unit and its
The initial removal of exotic vegetation from the Conservation Unit has been discussed
at management level l of the hierarchal management framework. It is, however, only treating the
effect and not the cause ofthe exotic vegetation problem. The cause lies partly with neighbouring
areas outside the Conservation Unit serving as source pools A concerted effo rt should be
undertaken to involve and assist neighbouring properties, so as to remove and eradicate invasive
exotic plants. The continuos inspection of the Conservation U nit, in order to detect the
establishment of such exotic plants is essential if further infestations are to be avoided.
Anti-poaching patrols should have the capacity to control all exotic elements coming into
the Conservation Unit This should be done in accordance with National and Provincial
legislation. Good neighbour relations are an essential component to the successful execution of
management actions at this level of the hierarchal management plan . Pro moting the control of
unwanted animals to neighbouring landowners will assist in the conservation efforts to protect
wildlife within the Conservation Unit
Several species occurring on the Conservation Unit (eg. porcupme, aardvark, black­
backed jackal and warthog) may have territories or home ranges that extend beyond the
Conservation U nit Ideally individuals should be able to disperse freely so as to improve
population viability. However, this ideal can not be achieved under g ame ranching conditions
typical of the study area, especially when considering the economic realities of game ranching.
The 10 feet high game fence surrounding the Conservation U nit may prevent certain small and
medium size animals (eg. porcupine, aardvark, black-backed jackal and warthog) from dispersing.
Establishing opportunities fo r these animals to move freely between the Conservation U nit and
its neighbours, w ithout imposing a security risk, is indeed a challenge to any conservation
management team. The establishment of a conservancy amongst landowners should be one of t he
ultimate goals in alleviating species specific range sizes and the population dynamics problem.
Increasing the spatial scale will also increase the viability of an ecological entity. A temporary
solution includes inserting fu nnels large enough to accommodate medium size animals, allowing
them to move between the Conservation Unit and it's neighbouring properties. This does however
increase the probability of exotic animals entering the Conservation Unit. Neighbouring
landowners must therefore be in agreement with the management of the Conservation Unit when
finding solutions to eradicate exotic elements such as feral dogs and cats and allow fo r free
movement of indigenous game.
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61 APPENDIX 1 Preliminary Conservation Management Plan for the Proposed Cinergy
Conservation Uoir
To contribute to the conservation ethic by consolidating land previously exposed to land
use practises such as game farming, cattle ranging and other agricultural act ivities into a
singular conservation unit with characteristics typical of an indigenous, self-sustaining
natural system.
T o restore the consolidated unit to a singular ecosystem where natural and indigenous
processes with faunal and floral elements typical of an natural ecosystem prior to
disturbances evoked through agriculture, dominate.
To develop a conservation ethic amongst all stakeholders so as to enhance and maintain
biological diversity? through a pro-active conservation management operation.
To develop a self-sustaining game breeding enterprise which w ill supply for some of the
needs of other animal breeders and conservationists.
To enact and maintain some self-sustaining, non-invasive leisure activities to the benefit
of the owners and their families without interfering w ith the maintenance of ecological
processes that will restore and maintain ecosystem viability, resilience, resistance and
The Conservation Management Paradigm
The consolidation of land privately owned and managed by several landowners into a single unit
set asi de for some land use activities other than crop production and intensive cattle ranging,
provides an opportunity to develo p a unit that will fulfill the conservation 4 ethic without
2 Following earlier discussions with Dave Alexander this unit may include sections of the present
Cinergy Farm and Mosdene west of the Boekenhout road and with the inclusion of another adjoining property
may extend over an area of 6 000 ha .
Biological diversity refers to the diversity of species, variability within species, and the diversity of
ecological processes which ensures ecosystem resistance and resilience
4Conservation here reflects on all actions taken to ensure the maintenance of biological diversity for
future generations. These actions may include restoration ofland, species populations and community
distracting from popular environmentally orientated commercial acti vities such as animal breeding.
Considering the objectives listed above, management plans which will meet with the needs of the
owners need to be develop . Conceptually such a management plan needs to comprise the
following :­
An operational framework for setting and evaluating attainable and acceptable
A predictive modelling framework through which the outcomes of the operational
framework can be predicted .
A response framework through which response of the system to the operational
framework can be monitored and be responded too.
Each of these frameworks may consist of several processes, the details of which should be
developed and agreed upon by all parties involved . The processes in turn comprise a number
actions w hich usually are taken care of through day to day operational activities. Day to day
operational activities need to be continually evaluated without deviated from the management
plan . However, the management plan in itself be upgraded or altered with the consent of all
parties involved.
Modern day conservation and the goal(s) of conservatio.n management practised by private
landowners have shifted from game farming and the management of species for their intrinsic
values to managing them for their roles in ecosystem fu nction. Emphasis is no longer placed on
conserving "states" but rather on maintaining and enhancing processes delivering states. This shift
or change most probably arose from the realisation that cost effective conservation management
relies on the manager activating and maintaining natural processes rather than continually
modifying them. Conservation management based on the activation and maintenance of natural
processes also have the benefit of enhancing resistance and resilience of the system. Conceivably
such management needs to be based on accepting and reinstating natural regimes of local change
resulting from local or regional disturbances.
Natural systems are predisposed to such natural regimes of disturbances, while
disturbances brought about by man more often than not are of scales and intensities beyond the
structure and fu nction, sustainable development and sustainable use.
resilience of these systems.
Conservation management aiming at the maintenance of natural processes depends on the
application of a suite of ecological principles ranging from spatial and temporal dynamics to
metapopulation theory. These principles are well beyond agriculturall/ based game farming
exercises and accordingly rather demanding on the manager. However, several benefits are to be
accrued from management directed at correcting rather than modifying natural systems, the most
important thereof being the development and maintenance of resilience, resistance to stochastic
disruptions through enhanced spatial and temporal variability.
The amalgamation ofland in view of establishing a conservation unit provide opportunities
to restore such land to a predetermined state through the activation and manipulation of natural
processes. However, such restoration 6 requires the setting of clear objectives and goals and a plan
through wich these objectives and goals can be achieved . A plan directed at achieving
conservation related objectives and goals requires a knowledge base of the system to be
conserved and of the ecological principles to be applied to achieve the conservation objectives and
goals. The setting of a management plan allows one to delineate activities but may be continually
changed to achieve the objectives and goals of the conservation action.
Cinergy and other properties in a Conservation Management Setting
Existing development on the farm Cinergy, its location, area, and the ideals expressed during
extended discussions gave rise to the objectives listed above. The land use options embodied in
the objectives resulted in the portion of the farm west of the provincial road being developed into
a conservation unit.
The amalgamation of adjacent properties with the exiting Cinergy Conservation Unit
(CCU) will preferentially be based on extending the objectives, and where applicable management
and action plans of the former, to include the Total Conservation Unit (TeU) The objectives of
the TCU will thus be directed at restoring and maintaining biological diversity witrun the limits
imposed by space, time and financial resources, with emphasis on the Unit being managed as a
5 Agricultural based activities centres on the promotion of productivity, usually at the cost of diversity
and accordingly system resilience and resistance.
6 Restoration refer to actions taken to recover the compositional, structural and functional properties
of an indigenous, self-sustaining natural system. It usually involves the activation of natural processes by
aiding local colonisation and extinction.
singular entity, taking cognisance of the different stages of successional development that exi sts
on the different properties at he time of amalgamation. Accordingly conservation management
will involve the following:­
The consolidation of relevant properties into a singular fenced in unit with indigenous
animals on all the properties freely intermingling.
The enclosing of all dwellings used for housing so as to minimize negative man-animal
The establishment and maintenance of an effective anti-poaching campaign.
The establishment and maintenance of an effective fire control operation.
The establishment and maintenance of an effective programme to control invasive exotic
The evaluation of field conditions and potential ecological carrying capacity of the Te ll
The establishment, maintenance and management of viable wildlife populations to enhance
field recovery and to maintain it at acceptable transitional stages and states.
The establishment of a field management prograrrune through the restoration of ecological
processes, including acceptable disturbance regimes resulting from selective grazing,
controlled bush clearing, controlled fire and selective mattrtenance of water holes.
The maintenance of a road network that will have minimal impact on ecological processes
affected by spatial variables, thereby minimizing edge effects.
The development of a programme that will enhance the conservation ethic through
participation in selected and controlled educational and recreational activities.
Rudi van Aarde
Professor o/loologv
Chair o/Conservation Ecology
University 0/ Pretoria
18lvfay 1999
65 APPENDIX 2 Braun-Blanquet table for the vegetation type classification for the Conservation Unit, Cinergy Game Farm, Northern Province.
ReIeve number
1 2
1 2
1 2
1 0
2 4
1 2
5 3 4
1 1 1 1
3 0 5 6 7
9 3 7
Acacia nilotica
Acacia tortillis
Acacia gerrardii
Aristida bipartita
Aloe transvaalensis
Euclea undulata
Rhus leptodictya
Ziziphus mucronata
Brachylaena neriifolia
Brachiaria nigropedata
+ +
Dich cine s. afri vaL
Aloe greatheadii
Blepharis species
Grewia occidental is
Pentarrhinum insipidum
Senecio barbertonicus
Vernon poskea s. botsw
Phyllanthus species
Tapinanthus species
Becium obovatum
Sporobolus ioclados
Eragrostis curvula
Tragus berteronianus
Boscia foetida
Commelina africana
Cordia monoica
Kalanchoe rotundifolia
Viscum rotundifolium
Ximenia americana
Blepharis integrifolia
Hibiscus pusillus
Combretum zeyheri
Triraphis andropogonoides
Grewia flavescens
Ehretia rigida
Ochna pulchra
Combretum moUe
Strychnos pungens
a + + +
+ a b
+ + +
+ +
+ +
66 9 8
Senecio species
Euclea undulata
Acacia mellifera
Dombeya rotundifolia
Lannea discolor
Maytenus heterophylla
Pollichia campestris
lusticia species
Asparagus laricinus
Eragrostis gummiflua
Kaianchoe paniculata
Cucumis zeyheri
Diheteropogo amplecten
Merremia tridentata
Pygmaeothamnus zeyheri
Ipomoea species
Ochna pulchra
Eragro lehman v. chaun
Acacia mellifera
Peltophorum africantun
Spirostachys africana
Aristi stipit s. graci
Acacia caffra
Vangueria infausta
Dombeya rotundifolia
Bauhin peters s. macra
Olea europa s. africa
Peltophorum africanum
Bulbostylis hispidula
Dichrostachys cinerea
Strychnos cocculoides
Solanum incanum
Rhus pyroides
Cassine transvaalensis
Carissa bispinosa
Asparagus suaveolens
Opuntia ficus-indica
Perotis patens
Pogonarthria squarrosa
Andropogon chinensis
Aristi canesc s. canes
+ +
+ +
+ + +
+ +
+ +
1 +
a b 1
a a 1 a b 1 1
Acrotome species
Dich cine s. afri var.
Terminalia sericea
Tephrosia lupinifolia
Hyperthelia dissoluta
+ a
67 ..
+ + + +
+ + 1
+ +
Waltheria indica
Dichrostachys cinerea
Indigofera daleoides
Indigofera filipes
Sclero birrea s. caffr
Babiana hypogea
Panicu colora v. color
Ziziphus mucro nata
Aristi stipit s. stipi
Aristida diffusa
Ochna pulchra
Strychnos pungens
Fadogia homblei
Acacia gerrardii
Bidens bipinnata
Lopholaena coriifolia
Myrica species
Nidore resedi s. resed
Zinnia peruviana
Cleo me species
Merremia species
Ochna pulchra
Indigofera species
Maytenus senegalensis
Agathisanthemum bojeri
Eragrostis pallens
Aristida stipitata
Securidaca longepedu nc
Vernonia poskeana
Burkea africana
Schkuhria pinnata
Acacia karroo
Acacia niloti s. kraus
Sporobolus africanus
Conyza albida
Sclerocarya birrea
Digitaria brazzae
Burkea africana
3 3
3 4 4 b
b 1
+ + +
+ +
+ + +
+ +
Hirpicium species
Brachiaria brizantha
Gomphocarpus fruticosu
Osteospermum montanum
Solanum panduriforme
Citrullus species
Acacia tortil s. heter
Abutilon austro-afric
1 +
+ +
68 Enneapogon scoparius
Lippia javanica
Achyranthes species
Cucumis hirsutus
Sida cordifolia
Acacia nilotica
1 +
Acacia tortillis
Terrninalia sericea
b + a
Aristida canescens
Eragrostis lehmanniana
Heteropogon contortus
Digitaria eriantha
Eragrostis heteromera
Aristida congest a
Eragrostis rigidior
Panicum coloratum
Dichrostachys cinerea
+ 1
3 b
1 1 a a
+ a
1 a a
1 +
1 3 4 b a b +
+ + + +
+ +
Hibiscus trionum
1 1
+ + +
b 1 a
+ 1 +
+ 3
1 3
1 1
b b a a
+ + +
Panicum schinzii
Digitaria argyrograpta
Chloris virgata
Eleusine coracana
Datura ferox
Datura stramonium
Xanthlum spinosum
Xanthium strumarium
Cucumis species
Crotalaria species
Melinis repens
Tagetes species
Urochloa mosambicensis
Cynodon dactylon
1 a
b 3 3 b
69 1
3 3 b a
3 3
4 3
+ +
+ a b + 1
3 4 5
APPENDIX 3 DETAILS REGARDING THE USE OF INFRARED TRIGGERED CAME RAS An infrared triggered camera can be used in the study of animals within their natural habitat.
Movements around their burrows, access points to waterholes, potential feeding sites and their
utilization of active game trails can be surveyed using this equipment. Shy and nocturnal animals
not frequently observed by researchers, can now be photographed, their movements monitored,
individuals identified, social interactions observed and populations studies conducted . The
following is a description of the successes and problems experienced through the study conducted
in 1999 on the Conservation Unit of the Cinergy farm .
A TM 1500 TrailMaster (Goodson and Associates Inc., Lenexa, Kansas) was used to
trigger a Yashica T5D 35mm camera with built-in flash (Kyo cera Corporation, Tokyo, Japan).
ISO 200 camera film (12 exposure colour print) was used . The TrailMaster 1500 consists ofa
transmitter and receiver. The transmitter and receiver were secured on movable tripods . The
transmitter then, when aligned correctly to the receiver, transmitted an infra-red beam to the
receiver. The infra-red beam between the transmitter and receiver must not experience any
interference from leaves or twigs. The camera was positioned to focus on the area between the
transmitter and receiver.
The transmitter was connected to a camera with a transmitter cable. The transmitter and
receiver were positioned in such a manner to activate the camera automatically as soon as the
infrared beam is broken by an animal. Care should be taken as to not have the transmitter cable
in front of the lens of the camera. The cable should furthermore not interfere with either the
access route of an animal, or trigger the infrared beam.
The active time period was set from 30 minutes before dusk until 30 minutes after dawn.
The active time period should be decided according to the animal that one considers to be
photographed . The delay setting (the time that the beam must be broken before the camera will
be activated), the time laps (the time between two consecutive photographs taken) and the
positioning of the transmitter and receiver were changed according to the species expected to be
photographed. The delay time for larger animals was set at 1,5 seconds, and for smaller game
down to 0,5 seconds. The time laps varied between 30 and 60 seconds to prevent all the
photographs used on one individual. The Trailmaster 1500 recorded the time and date at every
70 incidence when the infra-red beam was broken.
The camera recorded the date and time of exposure on the photographs. The camera film
was replaced when necessary. After the equipment was setup and tested, the area was evacuated.
Daily inspection of the equipment was done from a distance to avoid any unnecessary disturbance.
Care should be taken to minimize human disturbance as much as possible around the camera setup
and intended photographing area. Sufficient time should also be allocated after setting up the
equipment to allow for the human scent and other disturbances to disappear.
O nly a single camera setup was used during this study period. Although initial success was
achieved, for instance at the first porcupine burrow, subsequent camera setups failed to deliver
any photographs of animals. This problem could be alleviated with using more cameras and
infrared beam setups in order to cover all the different entrances of the single burrow system The
failure to photograph any aardvark could be ascribed to the same problem. Access routes to
waterholes via the game trails, also needs more than a single camera setup .
T he quality of all the photographs were sufficient to identifY aU the animals to species
level. Some difficulty were experienced in sexing individuals due to bad positioning of the animal
or the camera not being directed perfectly in the line with the animal movements. Identifying
individual markings of the individuals will ultimately depend on the quality of the photographs.
Anticipating the correct animal for a specific study is essential fo r determining the delay setting,
as well as the time laps settings of the transmitter and cameras. Smaller and faster moving animals
will have shorter delay settings, as well as shorter time lap periods than the larger slower moving
The time period of four days for the camera setup was to short. It is possible that the
ani mals w ere not given adequate time to become habituated to the camera setup, and
subsequently shied away from it. L onger exposure perio ds to the animals might improve results.
It is also important to note that the stands used for the transmitter, receiver and camera could be
used as rubbing posts for the white rhi noceros and scent marking spots fo r territorial animals.
These actions can potentially ruin the operation. Care should therefore be taken when positioning
the camera equipment, especially around waterholes and game trails.
71 APPENDIX 4 Mam mal species recorded from April 1999 until September 1999 on the Conservation Unit, Cinergy Game Farm, Northern Province. Family
English name
Afrikaanse naam
Croci dura sp.
Elephantulus branchyrynchus
Short-snouted elephant-shrew
Kortneus klaasneus
Cercopithecus aethiops
Vervet monkey
Lepus saxatilis
Scrub hare
Hystrix africaeaustralis
Cape porcupine
Kaapse ystervark
Paraxerus cepapi
Tree squirrel
Pedetis capensis
Mastomys coucha
Natal multimammate mouse
Natalse vaalveldmuis
Tatera leucogaster
Bushveld gerbil
Bosveldse nagmuis
Tatera brantsii
Highveld gerbil
Hoeveldse nagmuis
Dendromus melanotis
Grey climbing mouse
Hyaena brunnea
Brown hyaena
Bruin Hyena
Canis mesomelas
Black-backed jackal
Roo ijakkal s
Mellivora capensis
Honey badger
Galerella sanguinea
Slender mongoose
Mungos mungo
Banded mongoose
Gebande muishond
Ceratotherium simum
White rhinoceros
Equus burchelli
Burchell's zebra
Potamochoerus porcus
Potamochoerus aethiopicus
Alcelaphus buselaphus
Red hartebeest
Silvicapra grimmia
Common duiker
Gewone duiker
Raphicerus campestris
Aepyceros melampus
Syncerus caffer
African buffalo
Afrikaanse buffel
Tragelaphus strepsiceros
Taurotragus oryx
72 Bird species recorded from April 1999 until September 1999 for the Conservation Unit, Cinergy
Game Farm, Northern Province.
English name
Afrikaanse naam
Struthio camelus
Ardea cinera
Grey Heron
Ardea melanocephala
B1acheaded Heron
Bubulcus ibis
Cattle Egret
Scopus umbrella
Bostrychia hagedash
Hadeda Ibis
A lopochen aegyptiacus
Egyptian Goose
Plectropterus gambensis
Spurwinged Goose
Sagittarius serpentarius
Elanus caeruleus
Blackshouldered Kite
Circaetus cinereus
Brown Snake Eagle
Buteo rufofuscus
Jackal Buzzard
Francolinus coqui
Coqui Francolin
Francolinus sephaena
Crested Francolin
Francolinus swainsonii
Swainson's Francolin
Numida meleagris
Helmeted Gui neafowl
Gewone Tarentaal
Turnix sylvatica
Kurrichane Buttonquail
Bosveldkwartel ~ ie
Eupodotis rujicrista
Redcrested Korhaan
Vanellus coronatus
Crowned Plover
Vanellus armatus
Blacksmith Plover
Cursorius temminckii
Temminck's Courser
Pterocles bicinctus
Doublebanded Sandgrouse
Streptopelia semitorquata
Redeyed Dove
Streptopelia capico/a
Cape Turle Dove
Gewone Tortelduif
Streptope/ia senega/ensis
Laughing Dove
Gena capensis
Namaqua Dove
Turtur chalcospilos
Emeraldspotted Dove
Corythaixoides conc%r
Grey Lourie
73 Cuculus solitarius
Redchested Cuckoo
Clamator jacobinus
Jacobin Cuckoo
Centropus burchellii
Burchell's Coucal
Gewone V1eiloerie
Otus leucotis
Whitefaced Owl
Glaucidium perlatum
Pearlspotted Owl
Bubo africanus
Spotted Eagle Owl
Gevlekte Ooruil
Apus affinis
Little Swifts
Cypsiurus parvus
Pakm Swift
Colius striatus
Speckled Mousebirds
Gevlekte muisvoel
Uro colius indicus
Redfaced Mousebird
Ceryle rudis
Pied Kingfisher
Halcyon albiventris
Brownhooded Kingfisher
Coracias caudata
Lilacbreasted Roller
Gewone Troupant
Upupa africana
African Hoopoe
Phoeniculus purpureus
RedbiIIed Woodhoopoe
Gewone Kakelaar
Tockus nasutus
Grey HornbilI
Tockus erythrorhynchus
RedbiIled Hornbill
To ckus leucomelas
Yellowbilled Hornbill
Lybius torquatus
BlackcoIIared Barbet
Pogoniulus chrysoconus
Yellowfronted Tinker Barbet
Trachyphonus vaillantii
Crested Barbet
Eremopterix leucotis
Chestnutback Finchlark
Rooi ruglewerik
Dicrurus adsimilis
Forktailed Drongo
Oriolus larvatus
Blackheaded Oriole
Parus niger
Southern Black Tit
Gewone Swartmees
Turdoides jardineii
Arrowmarked Babbler
Pycnonotus barbatus
Blackeyed Bulbul
Turdus libonyana
Kurrichane Thrush
Turdus olivaceus
Olive Thrush
Turdus li!sitsirupa
Groundscraper Thrush
Gevlekte Lyster
Myrmecocichla formicifora
Anteating Chat
Erythropygia leucophrys
Whitebrowed Robin
Gestreepte Wipstert
Parisoma subcaeruleum
Sylviefta rufescens
Lonbilled Crornbec
Cisticola aridula
Desert Cisticola
Cisticola chiniana
Rattling Cisticola
Cisticola fulvicapi lIa
Prinia subflava
Tawnyflanked Prinia
Melaenornis pammelaina
Black Flycatcher
Melaenornis mariquensis
Marico Flycatcher
Batis molitor
Chinspot Batis
Anthus cinnamomeus
Grassveld Pipit
Gewone Koester
Anthus caffer
Bushveld Pipit
Lanius collaris
Fiscal Shrike
Corvin ella melanoleuca
Longtailed Shrike
Laniarus ferrugineus
Southern Boubou
Suidelike Waterfiskaal
Laniarus atrococcineus
Crirnsonbreasted Shrike
Tchagra senegala
Blackcrowned Tchagra
Malaconotus blanchoti
Greyheaded Bush Shrike
Prionops plumatus
White Helrnetshrike
Eurocephalus anguitimens
Whitecrowned Shrike
Lamprotornis australis
Burchell's Starling
Lamprotornis nitens
Glossy Starling
Nectarinia mariquensis
Marico Sunbird
Nectarinia talatala
Whitebellied Sunbird
W itpenssuikerbekkie
Zosterops pallidus
Cape White-eye
Kaapse Glasogie
Plocepasser mahali
Whitebrowed Sparrowweaver
Sporopipes squami/rons
Scalyfeathered Finch
Quelea que lea
Redbilled Quelea
Pytilia melba
Melba Finch
Gewone Melba
Lagonosticta senegala
Redbilled Firefinch
Uraeginthus angolensis
Blue Waxbill
Gewone Blousysie
Uraeginthus granatinus
Violeteared Waxbill
Ortygospiza atricollis
Quail Finch
Gewone Kwartelvinkie
Serinlls jlaviventris
Yellow Canary
Emberiza tahapisi
Rock Bunting
76 Plant species recorded from April 1999 until September 1999 for the Conservation Unit,
Cinergy Game Farm, Northern Province. Family
Bulbostylis hispidula
English name
Afrikaanse naam Commetina africana
Yellow Commelina
Aloe greatheadii
Grass Aloe
Asparagus laricinus
Cluster-leaved Asparagus
Asparagus suaveolens
Bushveld Asparagus
Aloe transvaalensis
Babiana hypogea
Myria sp.
Tapinanthus rubromarginatus
Red Mistletoe
Viscum rotundifolium
Round-leaved Mistletoe
Ximenia americana
Small Sourplum
Klein Suurpruim
Achyranthes sp.
Pollichia campestris
Argemone mexicana
Yellow-flowered Mexican poppy
Argemone subfusiformis
White-flowered Mexican poppy
Mexikaanse papawer
Boscia foetida
Smelly Sheperd's tree
Kalanchoe paniculata
Large Orange Kalanchoe
Kalanchoe rotundifotia
Common Kalanchoe
Acacia cajJra
Common Hook-thorn
Gewone Haakdoring
Acacia gerrardi
Red Thorn
Acacia karroo
Sweet Thorn
Acacia mellifera
Acacia nilotica
Scented Thorn
Acacia tortillis
Umbrella Thorn
Dichrostachys cinerea
Sickle Bush
Burkea africana
Red Syringa
Bauhinia pietersiana
White Bauhinia
Cleome sp.
Peltophorum africanum
Weeping Wattle
Crotolaria sp.
Indigofera daleoides
Indigofera filipes
Tephrosia lupinifolia
Arachis hypogea
M elia azedarach
Se curidaca longepedunculata
Viol et Tree
D ichapetaiaceae
Dichapetalum cymosum
Poison Leaf
Phy llantus sp.
Spirostachys africana
Sc/erocarya birrea
Marui a
Lannea discolor
Rhus leptodicta
Mountain Karee
Rhus pyroides
Common Taaibos
Gewone taaibos
May tenus heterophylla
Common Spike-thorn
Gewone pendoring
May tenus senegalensis
Confetti Tree
Cassine transvaalensis
Transvaal Saffronwood
T ransvaalsaffraa n
Ziziphus mucronata
Grewia jlavescens
Roughed-leaved Rai sin
Skurweblaarrosyntj ie
Grewia occidentalis
Sida cordifolia
Gossypium herbaceum
Wild Cotton
Hibiscus pusil/us
Dwarf Hibiscus
Hibiscus trionum
Bladder Hibiscus
Dombeya rotundifolia
Wild Pear
Abutilon austro-africanum
Walth eria indica
Ochna pulchra
Peeling Plane
Cereus peruvianus
Queen of the night
Opuntia fi cus-indica
Prickly Pear
Combretum hereroense
Russet Bushwillow
Comb return molle
Velvet Bushwillow
Combretum zeyheri
Large-fruited Bushwillow
Terminalia serieea
Silver Tenninalia
Euclea undulata
Common Guarri
Gewone ghwarrie
Olea europea
Wild Olive
Strychnos eoeeuloides
Corky-bark Monkey Orange
Strychnos pungens
Spine-leaved Monkey Orange
Carissa bispinosa
Gomphoearpus /rutieosus
Pentarrhinum insipidum
African Heartvine
Merremia tridentata
Miniature Morning Glory
Ipomoea sp.
Cordia monoiea
Ehretia rigida
Puzzle Bush
Beeium obovatum
Cat's Whiskers
Solanum ineanum
Thorn Apple
Solanum panduriforme
Bitter Apple
Datura /erox
Large Thorn-apple
Grootstinkbl aar
Datura stramonium
Common Thorn-apple
Jacaranda mimosi/olia
Blepharis integrifolia
Lippia javanica
Aerotome sp.
Justicia sp.
Agathisanthemum bojeri
Vangueria in/austa
Wild Medlar
Cueumis hirsutus
Wild Cucumber
Cueumis zeyheri
Wild Cucumber
Pygmaeothamnus zeyheri
Fadogia homblei
Cucurb itaceae
Citrullus sp.
Citru/lis rehmii
Astaraceae Vernonia poskeana
Nidorella resedifolia
Conyza albida
Brachylaena neriifolia
Xanthium spinosum
Spiny Cocklebur
Xanthium strumarium
Zinnia peruviana
Redstar Zinnia
Bidens bipinnata
Schkuhria pinnata
Dwarf marigold
Tagetes min uta
Tall Khaki Weed
Lopholaena coriifolia
Senecio barbetonicus
Succulent Bush Senecio
Osteospermum montanum
Hirpicium sp.
Poaceae Andropogon chinensis
Hairy Blue grass
Harige-blou gras
Hyperthelia dissolata
Yellow Thatching grass
Heteropogon contortus
Spear grass
Diheteropogon amplectens
Broad-leaved Bluestem
Digitaria argyrograpta
Silver Finger grass
Digitaria brazzae
Brown Finger grass
Digitaria eriantha
Common Finger grass
Brachiaria brizantha
Common Signal grass
Brachiaria nigropedata
Blackfooted grass
Swartvoeti iegras
Urochloa mosambicensis
Bushveld Signal grass
Panicum coloratum
Small Buffalo grass
Panicum schinzii
Sweet Buffalo grass
Melinis repens
Natal Red top
Aristida bipartida
Rolling grass
Aristida canescens
Pale Three-awn
Aristida congesta
Spreading Three-awn
Aristida diffusa
Iron grass
Aristida stipitata
Long-awned grass
Tragus berteronianus
Carrot -seed grass
Gewone Wortelsaadgras
Perotis patens
Cat's Tail
Sporobolus africanus
Ratstail Dropseed
Sporobolus ioclados
Pan Dropseed
Eragrostis curvula
Weeping Love grass
Eragrostis gummiflua
Gum grass
Eragrostis heteromera
Bronze Love grass
Eragrostis lehmani ana
Lerunann 's Love grass
Eragrostis pallens
Broom Love grass
Eragrostis rigidor
Broad Curly Leaf
Cynodon dactylon
Couch grass
Chloris virgata
Feather-top Chloris
Eleusine coracana
Goose grass
Pogonarthria squarrosa
Herringbone grass
Triraphis andropogonoides
Broom Needle grass
Enneapogon scoparius
Bottlebrush grass
Zea mays
Triticum aefticum
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