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Nauyoma, L.T., Wassenaar, T.D., Mfune, J.K.E., van der Waal, C. and Kwembeya, E.G. 2018. Field surveys and revegetation experiments show that simulation of topographical habitat features could improve the chances of successful restoration for the threatened succulent Juttadinteria albata: Topography improves chances of restoration success. Restoration Ecology, 10.1111/rec.12917


Description:

Field surveys and revegetation experiments show that simulation of topographical habitat features could improve the chances of successful restoration for the threatened succulent Juttadinteria albata: Topography improves chances of restoration success.

Summary / Notes:

Species with highly restricted ranges are disproportionately at risk of extinction, particularly where habitat loss occurs as a result of mining. Post‐mining restoration of rare species populations is considered as an appropriate response to counter such threats, but requires a careful, evidence‐based and information‐driven approach. The economically important diamond mining at Sendelingsdrif in the southern Namib Desert occurs in the highly diverse Succulent Karoo Biome and threatens a significant part of the population of the narrow endemic succulent plant species Juttadinteria albata. To decrease the inherent risks of restoring such a rare species, we studied the habitat features of pre‐mining J. albata populations and experimentally tested whether some features could assist future re‐introductions in post‐mining substrates. Plots where J. albata occurred were mostly south to west‐facing and had amongst others higher rock cover and steeper slopes than plots where J. albata plants were absent. A revegetation experiment, with J. albata cuttings that were established on post‐mining substrate mounds, revealed that plants on steeper slopes, facing south to west, grew faster than plants on other slopes and aspects. Slope and aspect are therefore important habitat properties to recreate when restoring J. albata populations. These, and other preferred habitat properties such as higher levels of organic C, should now be tested in larger‐scale field trials. Validation of habitat requirements of J. albata through the revegetation experiment has decreased the risks at least partially and provides additional empirical evidence of the importance of establishing reference conditions to enhance ecological restoration.

Year: 2018

Type: Journal Article

URL: https://doi.org/10.1111/rec.12917


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