Our Projects

Goegap Nature Reserve Long Term Vegetation Transects
Goegap Nature Reserve is a provincial nature reserve (22 832 ha) located south east of Springbok in the Northern Cape. It falls within the Succulent Karoo Biome. The first long term line transects were established in 1974, followed by several additional transects in the 1990’s and 2000’s. The initial purpose of the surveys was to monitor […]
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Tankwa Karoo National Park Landscape Units
The Tankwa Karoo National Park is approximately 150 000 ha in size. A need was identified for a tool to guide park management, and accordingly, the concept of a landscape unit was tested. Landscape units were identified and described over the entire park. These landscape units were associated with vegetation units and numerous environmental parameters in […]
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Vaalbos Vegetation Change
Vaalbos National Park was deproclaimed in 2003 and is now communally owned and managed. Open-cast diamond mining and communal farming now take place on this land. Populations of various game species are still present on the property. Vegetation monitoring has taken place since 1991. Since 2011, the Arid Lands Node and SANParks have collaborated on […]
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Ephemeral Wetlands of the Northern Cape
South Africa’s most arid wetland systems are found in the Northern Cape Province. These systems, colloquially known as pans, depend exclusively on rainfall or flooding events for their existence. Given the variable climate typically associated with arid environments, these pans are desiccated for years. It is surprising that even though wetlands in arid environments are […]
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Carnarvon Grazing Trials
Trials with different four different stocking rates of sheep were initiated at the Carnarvon Agricultural Experimental Plots during 1991. Vegetation cover has subsequently been monitored periodically by GADI. In addition, a plot-based plant diversity assessment was conducted by SAEON in May 2015. These initial data are being analysed; the results are expected to show how botanical […]
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Grootfontein Grazing Trials
The world’s longest running field grazing trials were initiated in the Eastern Karoo during 1934 with sheep at Camp-6 by the Grootfontein Agricultural Development Institute (GADI). These sites are situated near the Eastern Cape Town of Middelburg. Other trials were later established at Seligman Old Fields and Bergkamp. As grass began increasing, rotational grazing of […]
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SAEON is collaborating with the South African Radio Astronomy Observatory (SARAO) to undertake and manage long-term environmental research on their Square Kilometre Array site, situated near the town of Carnarvon in the Northern Cape Province. The SKA site is situated in the central part of South Africa within the Nama Karoo Biome. This area, known […]
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Tierberg Burn Experiment
Historically, fire rarely occurred in the Karoo, and it was thought that plant species would therefore not be well adapted to fire. However, with grass abundance increasing in some Karoo areas, risks of fire have been increasing. Experimental burning was conducted at Tierberg in 2006 by igniting straw in order to study changes in natural […]
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Tierberg Plant Demography
Changes in demography of different plants are being tracked since 1988 after the removal of livestock (Tierberg), continued moderate grazing (Sand River), historical overgrazing (Argentina). Three commonly occurring shrub species are monitored: one highly palatable (Osteospermum sinuatum), one moderately palatable (Pteronia empetrifolia), and one unpalatable (Pteronia pallens). Ongoing periodic monitoring appears to indicate that grazing […]
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Tierberg Mammal Exclosures
Plots were fenced at Tierberg in 1988 in order to exclude all grazers and thereby assess grazing influences. In ongoing periodic surveys, data on plant cover and species composition are compared between exclosures and adjacent areas with different levels of grazing by wildlife and livestock. Indications are that overgrazing has long-term effects over many decades, […]
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