Masters Degrees (Centre for Environmental Management)

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  • ItemOpen Access
    Evaluating stakeholder perceptions concerning the free-roaming desert-adapted lions in the Skeleton Coast National Park in Namibia
    (University of the Free State, 2018-03) Kazeurua, Josua; Stander, P.
    This study evaluated the views and possible concerns of the main stakeholders of the Skeleton Coast National Park of the presence of lions through questionnaires. Any type of human-wildlife conflict, whether from tourism activities or conflict involving local communities, threaten the existence of wildlife. The perceived conflict between fishermen and the lions of the Skeleton Coast National Park can potentially threaten the existence of this species. It is unlikely that this conflict will be totally eliminated, but measures to reduce and control it at a level where local people and visitors to the park can tolerate and co-exist with wildlife, are a necessity. Although fishermen had a higher sighting frequency of lions than any other group, they had a relatively negative perception of the presence of lions in this area. Tourists had relatively low sightings but had a relatively positive perception of the presence of these lions in the vicinity of the Uniab Delta Waterfall in the Skeleton Coast National Park. In general, one would expect the assumption to be that the more the different groups observed lions, the more positive they would be towards them, but the results of this study indicate otherwise. This is because most Tourists who visit the Park highly want to see lions as there nowhere in the world were free-ranging lions have been observed along a beach or on a sand dune. Lions are prominent features in Namibia and are highly valued for their aesthetic and financial values by the increasing tourism industries. All groups agreed that lions might injure or kill people utilising the same area and the group that regarded these lions as the most dangerous to co-exist with humans in the area were the fishermen, while the lowest were the tourists. Fishermen regarded the presence of lions in this area as a threat to their angling activities. For the purpose of creating awareness of the presence of lions in the Skeleton Coast National Park, informational material and leaflets should be developed and displayed at key tourist information centres within the park.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Socio-economic assessment of the proposed tourism development at Mount Aux Sources, Eastern Free State, South Africa
    (University of the Free State (Qwaqwa Campus), 2008-03) Links, Sebiloane Lebotsa; Van Zyl, W. F.; Adjei, A.
    This study assesses the Potential Socio-economic Impact of the Tlokweng/Sentinel Cableway Development in the Tsheseng Community of Qwaqwa, Eastern Free State, South Africa. The survey was carried out during a month of July 2002, amongst a total of 200 households drawn from a random sampling involving three areas in Tsheseng, namely; Thibella, Dinkweng and Phomolong villages. The villages are located in the former homeland of Qwaqwa in the Eastern Free State (South Africa). In more specific terms, this research aimed at providing a critical examination of the contribution of this project in enhancing the standard of living of the people of Tsheseng (Qwaqwa). To put forward the recommendations on how the perceptions of these people can be integrated into the reality of the project was a challenge. It is also aimed at providing information from the respondents on how they foresee the impact of the project in tourism within the area. The study used both qualitative and quantitative methods in data collection and analysis. Primary and secondary sources of data were used and modem methods were also employed to analyse and draw conclusion from the research. The study's findings indicate that most of the households are not educated. As a result, they lack the capacity to be innovative. The study further revealed that Tsheseng people are far away from the CBD's and industries and as such, they are confined and marginalized through the non-interactive conditions imposed on them in their villages. These indicate a lack of incentives and high unemployment rate because of non-existence of clear and proper development and job opportunities intended to enhance the welfare (social status) of the Tsheseng people and Qwaqwa as a whole. The results further show that the people of Tsheseng acknowledge the fact that the project can be implemented with the hope that it will alleviate the alarming rate of unemployment. If this can be achieved, it will lead to betterment of the lives ofTsheseng people as well as on the tourism development process in South Africa. In conclusion, the study recommends that the cable car should be implemented as one of the flagships (services) of the tourism industry in order to alleviate unemployment and provide better living conditions expected by many people of the world. The study also recommends such a development with a clear understanding that tourism will be ranked amongst the best businesses in the study area and in South Africa as a whole. With this project in hand, some problems such as underdevelopment, poverty, ignorance and isolation could be minimized and tourism will flourish.
  • ItemOpen Access
    An inquiry as to whether the operational activities at Soshanguve landfill site comply with the standards laid down in the document entitled "Minimum requirements for waste disposal by landfill" - Department of Water Affairs and Forestry
    (University of the Free State, 2000-11) Molelekwa, Gomotsegang Fred "Telex"; Mqoqi, N.; Barker, C.
    A cross sectional study was conducted at the Soshanguve landfill site north of Pretoria between June and December 1999. The site is classified as a General. Medium and Less significant leachate producing disposal site (GMB-). The site is situated in close proximity to informal settlement area. Such proximity could cause the landfill site to pose potential public health threats to the residents in the settlements as they are likely to go and scavenge, or salvage disposed waste materials. In addition, stray animals found in the area could be in danger if the operations at the landfill site were not to conform to the minimum requirements for waste disposal as laid down by the Department of Water Affairs and Forestry. The landfill site may not look good to the residents and passers-by due to litter scattered all over the site and beyond the boundaries. The study was conducted to promote better management of waste through proper disposal and operational activities that meet the standards set in the minimum requirements document, in order to prevent and control negative impact of waste disposal on the environment and health of Soshanguve residents. The primary objective of the study was to establish whether the operational activities at the landfill site were conforming to the minimum requirements for waste disposal provided for by the Department of Water Affairs and Forestry based on its size and classification. Data were collected using qualitative and quantitative research methods. In-depth interviews were conducted with the managers responsible for waste management at the NPMSS and workers based at the landfill site. Review of records was done to determine the type and amount of waste that was disposed of at the site during 1998 and 1999. Review of records showed that waste material disposed of at the Soshanguve landfill site comprised of household waste, rubble, building rubble and garden refuse . Household waste formed the bulk of waste and its disposal increased significantly from January 1998 to November 1999 (t=2 .60, df=21, p<0.02, Cl=401.0 - 879.8). Other waste disposed of showed a decreasing trend over the two year period. Efficiency of compacting the waste was tested by sampling nearby stream and ponds onsite. Chemical testing of water was done by the CSIR. Operations at the site were observed. Infrastructural requirements such as toilet facilities, drinking water and fencing were also observed by the researcher. Observations showed a lack in these requirements. As a result of poor fencing, there was no controlled access into the site and the site was accessed by informal salvagers, scavengers, and stray animals. Reports of the disposal of hazardous chemical materials on the site were received and used disposable nappies were observed on-site. Machinery for waste disposal was insufficient and at times, it would breakdown resulting into waste not covered and compacted for more than a week. The situation led to the presence of flies, rodents and emission of foul smell that could have serious health impact and cause major discomfort in the surrounding communities. The situation may funher prohibit sustainable land-use, as the area may be damaged beyond rehabilitation. Ind1rect method of measuring waste observed could kad to overestimation of the amount of waste disposed of at the landfill site. There was generally poor management of waste at Soshanguve landfill site which could be attributed to insufficient machinery. Better efforts in managing the Soshanguve landfill site are needed as the current operations at the site could have major public health implications to the environment and the surrounding communities. Sufficient resources should be provided to ensure sound waste disposal. Waste disposal site management committee should be established and local communities should form part of the committee to ensure objective, informed and acceptable decision-making. Interventions to promote awareness about waste disposal and management, amongst the communities need to be put in place.
  • ItemOpen Access
    The integration of strategic environmental assessments with the integrated development planning process
    (University of the Free State, 2001-07) Smit, J. H.; Seaman, M. T.; McClintock, S.
    Since the first living forms emerged miraculously from earth's cloak of gas millions of years ago, the planet has maintained a capacity to support life in a myriad of ever changing forms. Among all the species that have evolved during the earth's long history, modem people have been the most successful. This resulted in a drastic increase in human population. In the second half of the 20th century the relationship between human beings. and their environment has become the topic of widespread concern. It is now universally accepted that, according to present trends, we must expect the world, and South Africa, to become more crowded, more polluted, less ecologically stable and more vulnerable to natural hazards in the years ahead. There are two components to environmental deterioration. One is the depletion of essential resources for the maintenance of present-day life styles. The other is the deterioration and destruction of natural processes which ultimately sustain life on earth. South Africa is a unique country with unique problems. It has a developed, or First World, component which has been responsible for some terrible environmental degradation. It also has a developing, or Third World, component which has a dire need for socio-economic development. This implies the need for sustainable development. Sustainable development means improving the quality of human life while living within the carrying capacity. It is universally recognised that sustainable development should occur at local level, which in turn could contribute, to the global healthy state of the environment. The dire need for development among underdeveloped communities and the lack of capacity (financially and administratively) among existing municipalities in the new dispensation resulted in the introduction of Integrated Development Planning. The Integrated Development Planning process is a strategic decision-making tool that assists local authorities in fulfilling their development mandate given by the new constitution. In general, Integrate Development Plans tend to focus on socio-economic development tied to a spatial development framework. A need to ensure sustainable development therefore exists within Integrated Development Planning. Strategic Environmental Assessments could be used as a means III achieving sustainable development. A Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) is an Integrated Environmental Management (lEM) strategic decision-making support tool that proactively considers the opportunities and constraints the environment places on development. By integrating a Strategic Environmental Assessment with the Integrated Development Planning process sustainable development can be ensured. The means to integrate the two processes, theoretically as well as practically, poses a challenge for environmental managers and planners in South Africa. The aim of this study is to provide some guidelines in achieving the successful integration of Strategic Environmental Assessment as a component of the Integrated Development Planning process. This will be achieved by integrating the elements of a Strategic Environmental Assessment into the various phases of Integrated Development Planning process. The Integrated Development Planning process involves one process with many products, one of which is a Strategic Environmental Assessment.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Expanding the conservation estate in South Africa : the case of Coleske Farm in the Baviaanskloof
    (University of the Free State, 2014-01) McGregor, Eleanor C.; Pelser, A. J.
    Finding the balance between biodiversity conservation and development imperatives is a global quandary. Integrated Conservation and Development Projects (ICDPs) that seek to link conservation and development are thus being implemented. Conservation Authorities historically purchased Coleske farm to initiate the development of the Baviaanskloof Nature Reserve (BNR) into the Baviaanskloof Mega-reserve (BMR) ICDP. This ICDP has called for the Coleske community to resettle, via the implementation of a previously developed resettlement action plan (RAP), to a development node that could be developed in the BMR ICDP. The purpose of this document is to report on the findings that emerged from the research that explored the broad challenges and impediments in expanding the conservation estate in South Africa by looking at the situation of Coleske farm in the BNR. Exploratory research was undertaken through in-depth semi-structured face-to-face and telephonic interviews with the Coleske community heads of households and key stakeholder organisations. The most important documents pertaining to the situation of Coleske farm were consulted and the findings of the study were compared against the pertinent fundamentals, basics, ideals, principles or guidelines for ICDP implementation in order to extract lessons learnt from the situation of Coleske. The findings show that the general situation of Coleske has deteriorated since the land was purchased for inclusion in the BNR and the pertinent fundamentals for ICDP implementation were not employed from the onset; as a result, efforts and attempts to correct the associated negative consequences retrospectively are proving to be difficult. The document recommends that a coordinated approach to solve the situation at Coleske be employed, that key stakeholders be lobbied and mobilised to take on their respective roles and responsibilities, and that binding decisions be made and implemented in order to ensure that the status quo of Coleske does not remain for years to come. The study concludes that, in order to realise the intention of the Baviaaskloof Mega-reserve ICDP, the fundamental characteristics of an ICDP, i.e., inclusion, partnerships, legitimacy, cohesion, demarcation, resilience, and so forth, would need to be embraced by all the role players and that finalising the situation of Coleske is a tangible possibility if the existing frameworks and policies that are of relevance to the Baviaanskloof Mega-reserve ICDP are seriously considered and implemented by the Eastern Cape Government of South Africa.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Charcoal production as a managment tool against bush encroachment: vegetation dynamics
    (University of the Free State, 2013-11-14) Muroua, Ngaturue Don; Nghikembua, Matti
    Bush encroachment has become a worldwide phenomenon and a concern for the world’s arid and semiarid biomes. Savannas are turning into shrublands and thickets as evident in Namibia. This change in vegetation communities has direct consequences on the functioning of ecosystems and on services delivered by these systems. In Namibia, millions of hectares (ha) of arable land have been invaded by native bush species which vary in densities and structures. This affected area represents 32% of Namibia’s terrestrial territory, and about 57% of Namibia’s productive arable land. The agricultural (red meat) sector has been experiencing an economic loss of at least N$ 1 billion annually. Historically, drivers of bush encroachment inter alia include overstocking by grazer, suppression of fires, reduced browsers populations and climate variability. Different methods have been used to try to control the spread of encroaching bushes. Methods used to try and combat bush encroachment includes biological means, the use of chemicals and mechanical means. Most of these methods proved to be inefficient to farming. Charcoal production since the 1990’s, has created an incentive for farmers to remove excess bushes by producing charcoal as a by-product from rangeland rehabilitation. This process is believed to be more selective, environmental friendly and a cost-effective way of combating bush encroachment. This study was therefore conducted to measure vegetation structure, plant density and composition, species diversity and evenness in response to the charcoal production on farm Pierre, situated in Outjo District, Namibia. Systematic sampling methods were used to collect data in 400m2 plots and 1m2 quadrats along transects placed in a representative Treatment area and Control area. The study results showed that bush thinning through charcoal production has led to the improvement of vegetation species diversity, veld ecological condition and facilitated a better grass biomass production. The tree density in the Treatment area was reduced by 51.4% and the grass density was 100% more than in the Control area. The veld ecological condition in the Treatment area, based on grass population dynamics was 168% more than in the Control area. The study also found that there was also a moderately strong negative correlation between tree density and grass density. To ensure that bush thinning for charcoal production remains a sustainable tool for bush encroachment control, key issues such as the reduction in unselective harvesting of large trees and improving on aftercare following bush harvesting need to be addressed by all stakeholders, especially the charcoal producer. This can be done through voluntary means or by developing policies that give incentive’s to aftercare treatment and to selective harvesting of problem trees.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Municipal solid waste disposal site selection
    (University of the Free State, 2013-03-11) Pawandiwa, Charity C.; Togarepi, S.
    The exceptional growth in the urban population of cities in developing countries has mandated a critical analysis of urban waste management practices. In the context of increasing urban population density, sanitary landfill solution is a lucrative means of waste disposal and attainment of an acceptable environmental quality and public health. The location of sanitary landfill facilities in established urban developments requires careful and thoughtful consideration to create a situation which accommodates the technological, social, economic and environmental considerations associated with landfill creation alongside existing infrastructure, social fabric and environmental constraints. This investigation contributes to the search for a suitable site for a new waste disposal facility to cater for the solid waste generated in Harare’s industrial, commercial and residential areas. This research takes the form of a land use suitability assessment with a multi-criteria analysis. Factors considered include settlement pattern, industrial areas, commercial areas, wetlands, transport routes, surface and groundwater vulnerability. Weights are assigned to these factors depending on their relative importance and impact as determined through literature, local authority regulations and responses of key decision makers and stakeholders. Using Geographic Information Systems (G.I.S,) map overlay techniques; alternative landfill sites are identified and evaluated.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Impacts of exotic invasive plants on the composition and structure of riparian woody vegetation in the lower Orange River- Tsau/Khaeb (Sperrgebiet) National Park, Namibia
    (University of the Free State, 2013-11) Shilongo, Kosmas E.; Heita, Jonas
    The adverse impacts of exotic invasive plants in protected areas, agricultural areas and riparian zones are a global concern. With particular focus on riparian zones, the invasive alien plant species displaces indigenous riverine vegetation, alters species composition and plant community structure. In totality, alien invasive species affects ecological functioning of natural systems as well as disturbs the ecosystem and habitat integrity. This study therefore investigates the impact of exotic invading plant species on the structure and composition of the resident woody vegetation communities within the riparian zones of the lower Orange River part of Tsau//Khaeb (Sperrgebiet) National Park, Namibia. A comparative methodological study approach was adopted and a 20 m x 50 sampling plots were used for intensity density and biomass assessment between the invaded and uninvaded sites. Differences in canopy cover stem, width and vegetation height between the invaded and un-invaded sites were determined by using a t-test for the equality of means which was performed at the 5% significance level. The results proved that there was a significant difference in the mean height, mean canopy cover and mean stem width of the vegetation (p = 0.00). The most common exotic invader recorded are Datura inoxia, Eucalyptus camaldulensis, Nicotiana glauca, Prosopis spp and Ricinus communis. It is concluded that invasive alien plants exerts adverse impacts on the characteristics of riparian vegetation communities of the Lower Orange River in the Tsau//Khaeb (Sperrgebiet) National Park. Thus, there is a need for an active management and control interventions of alien invasive plant species within the riparian zones of the Orange River in the Tsau//Khaeb (Sperrgebiet) National Park.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Aquaponics as a productive rehabilitation alternative in Mpumalanga Highveld coalfields
    (University of the Free State, 2016-03-11) Botha, Ilse; Weaver, Alex.
    The Mpumalanga Highveld Region is commonly known for its coal mining activities, especially surface mines. South Africa is still reliant on coal as its main energy source. A dilemma identified is that most of the coal reserves in Mpumalanga are (or were) located below highly productive arable land formerly used for food production such as maize. With a growing energy demand, these valuable areas of land are being impacted negatively. The post-mining land is predominantly rehabilitated to a grazing land capability instead of the pre-mining arable land capability, hindering the production of crops on those areas when mining ceases. This adds to the food security threat which South Africa is currently facing. The National Development Plan 2030 indicated the intentions to diversify the national economy. It was identified that agricultural activities should be expanded to relieve the high levels of poverty in rural areas, and that sustainable agriculture should be the main focus. With the prevailing trends of surface coal mines expanding on available arable land, the realization of this goal might not be possible. This study looked at aquaponics as a possible environmental management alternative that will enhance the agricultural productivity of rehabilitated mine land. An experimental site located close to Middelburg and Emalahleni was used as the base for this study to determine the financial feasibility of such a venture. Five chosen mines within a 20km radius were investigated to understand their rehabilitation practices and to prove that the sites are rehabilitated to a grazing land standard. These sites were all identified as favourable for the initiation of aquaponics. The two post-mining land use alternatives were compared with one another to understand what the benefits and constraints are. The economic driver was a main focus, followed with a brief overview of environmental and social aspects that can be kept in mind when these land uses are established.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Agricultural hazardous waste : understanding the hazardous waste cycle in the maize production chain and testing a methodology to collect waste information for the development of a waste register
    (University of the Free State, 2014-01) Nell, Arjen Wallace; Esterhuyse, Surina; Reynolds, Dave
    The management of agricultural chemicals and waste is imperative in order to ensure proper resource protection and good environmental management. Various studies done in South Africa have illustrated the impact of agricultural waste and chemical mismanagement on the environment and on water resources in particular. Nationally, South Africa aims to manage waste streams by means of a hazardous waste register and locally the provincial departments of Environmental Affairs and Tourism in South Africa should develop such waste registers. This masters project is based on a proposal to develop a hazardous waste source inventory for the Free State province through the Department of Economic Development, Tourism and Environmental Affairs (DETEA) of the Free State Province. The development of a hazardous waste source inventory is important to effectively manage various kinds of hazardous waste sources. Hazardous waste spans various industries (medical waste, industrial waste, agricultural waste) and it can be a huge task to develop a waste register for each province in South Africa. With reference to agricultural waste, the impact of agricultural hazardous waste on water resources is becoming an increasing concern and challenges in the agricultural waste management industry in South Africa are on the rise. The aim of this study was to understand the waste cycle and test a methodology for collecting waste information for the development of a waste database, with a specific focus on agricultural waste in the maize sector. Additional aims included determining whether the agricultural maize sector uses and disposes of its agro-chemicals and other production cycle wastes effectively and to propose alternative management options for more effective management of these chemicals. In order to delimit the study, this study focused specifically on agricultural waste associated with the maize production cycle. The methodology followed in this study was also used in similar studies in other countries (Sweden, France, UK, USA) and involved the development of questionnaires and semi-structured interviews for farmers and chemical distribution agents. Qualitative data obtained from the questionnaires was analysed thematically and quantitative data was analysed using Excel and IBM Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS) version 10. The objective of the study was achieved by developing questionnaires that address questions related to chemical usage and waste in the maize sector. These questionnaires were administered to farmers and chemical distributors in the selected sampling areas. Questionnaire development took place through interviews with parties such as FS Agriculture, Grain SA and pre-testing was done on maize farmers and other relevant people. Results from the questionnaires were used together with data from chemical distributors, databases and literature to develop a baseline indication of chemical usage and waste in the agricultural maize sector. The study showed that determining average volumes of agro-chemicals used in different phases of the maize production sector can be quite complex. This complexity is due to various factors – pesticides may have different names but the same active ingredients, a single pesticide can be used for different pests (by using different concentrations and application methods), in some cases there is uncertainty amongst farmers on how to effectively apply these pesticides, whether the agro-chemical is in a granular or liquid form, and factors like soil type, climate conditions and varying types and amounts of pests and weeds which influences agro-chemical usage in different areas. All these factors make it very difficult to calculate average pesticide volumes used per production cycle just for the maize industry. If one takes into account that agriculture spans a much wider production industry than just maize (e.g. vegetables, cotton etc) the complexity increases even more. This study illustrates the fact that another more effective approach may be required to gather accurate data to populate waste databases for each province. Alternative approaches can include web surveys or voluntary registration by farmers and reporting of chemical type and volumes used either by post or on a web based system. This research addressed key questions related to hazardous waste management in the agricultural maize sector in South Africa and tested a methodology for gathering information to populate hazardous waste registers. The development of hazardous waste registers is a very important waste management tool which the DETEA aims to employ to ensure proper resource protection and waste management, and this study may make valuable contributions towards the development of such waste registers.
  • ItemOpen Access
    The role of urban and environmental parameters in sustainable development and future growth of small towns : Parys - a case study
    (University of the Free State, 2013-11) Dreyer, Lee-Anne; Kemp, M.; Senekal, W.
    Small towns in South Africa play a vital role as support and service centres for rural development. Current discussions on sustainable development relate to the dynamicism of small towns. Existing literature on sustainable development accentuates that the majority of sustainability problems and sollutions linked to sustainable development originate at local levels. Local governments of small towns interact very closely with residents, and play an important role in promoting sustainability. Many small towns struggle with environmental management and experience development challenges. The small town of Parys in the Free State was chosen as the focus of this study. Parys is known for its location and characteristics as a tourist destination and important service centre for rural areas and surrounding towns. Parys has several urban environmental management issues which can limit future growth and development. This study will evaluate the growth of Parys, and the town will be evaluated in terms of sustainability. A case study approach was adopted to investigate the current state of sustainability in Parys. The perceptions and concerns of business owners and stakeholders of their immediate urban and natural environment were determined using two semi structured questionnaires. An in-depth literature study was conducted to investigate sustainable development and determine the best suited sustainability indicators to be used in the surveys. Sustainability indicators derived from the Sustainable Cities International, 2012 were used during the sustainability evaluation. Data obtained was statistically analysed using IBM SPSS Software. The results obtained from the surveys and the sustainability evaluation of Parys, were used to identify main problem areas. The results indicated that Parys is currently unsustainable with various urban and environmental issues. Recommendations were then formulated to improve the current situation. An integrated sustainability data base with the necessary parameters for each sustainability indicator is needed and could assist the NLM and other local municipalities in South Africa to determine their state of sustainability. This study will also set the stage for follow up studies and evaluations of other small towns using sustainability indicators.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Investigating the influence of hydrological phase on Baetidae and Simuliidae species composition in a South African non-perennial river: the Seekoei River
    (University of the Free State, 2014-01) Ferreira, Ina S.; Watson, Marie
    All rivers should be monitored to detect changes and disturbances in order to be managed sustainably. Although non-perennial rivers are widespread and common in the semi-arid and arid areas of South Africa they have not been studied extensively. SASS 5 (South African Scoring System version 5) is the standard rapid bio-assessment method used to determine the present state of macroinvertebrates in South African rivers. The SASS 5 method was, however, developed for use in perennial rivers, and regardless of its inaccuracy in non-perennial rivers is still used in these rivers. This study tested the hypothesis that the SASS 5 biomonitoring method does not consider natural changes caused by the hydrology in non-perennial rivers and that family level identification is not accurate enough to reflect the changes in the state of the river. The Seekoei River, used as a case study, is an ephemeral (non-perennial) river, situated in the Northern Cape and is part of the Upper Orange Water Management Area. The autumn samples collected at two sites (EWR 3 and EWR 4; 2006 – 2010) in the Seekoei River during a WRC project (WRC research project K5/1587) were selected for the current study because of the ideal habitat and hydrology experienced at the sites. Two main hydrological phases were identified during the sampling period, i.e. FLOW phase and POOLS phase. Three years (2006, 2008, 2010) experienced the FLOW phase and two years (2007, 2009) the POOLS phase. Two macroinvertebrate families, Simuliidae and Baetidae, were used to determine the influence of species identification on the interpretation of biomonitoring data in non-perennial rivers. The results showed that species within the same family have certain flow and habitat preferences, which would not be detected using family-level data. This should be kept in mind when these rivers are managed. This study concluded that the information available from species-level analysis is important during the management of non-perennial rivers and therefore species-level data together with family-level data should be considered for use.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Investigating small mammal community structure as a possible indicator of improved habitat integrity in an area cleared of alien vegetation
    (University of the Free State, 2014-01) De Klerk, Jean J.; Kemp, M. E.; Avenant, N. L.
    Small mammal communities have been identified as possible indicators of the ecological integrity of different areas. Small mammal species are adapted to micro habitats and therefore can be affected by small-scale changes, which can be monitored to assist in biodiversity studies. Alien vegetation eradication programs have been ongoing across many areas of South Africa. These eradicated areas are believed to be able to restore to the original condition and therefore improving the biodiversity of the area. However, many ways of assessing ecological integrity are time consuming and expensive. By assessing the small mammal diversity and community structure in eradicated areas, judgments could be made about the success of implemented eradication programs. As small mammal surveys can be done readily, the ability to use them as indicators allows them to be implemented in all eradicated areas to indicate conditions of area over various time periods and can be utilized on a continual basis. This study investigates to which extent small mammal community structure (including the specific species present and the species richness) could indicate improved habitat integrity in areas cleared of alien vegetation. Small mammal communities in three areas, (i) area infested with Black Wattle (Acacia mearnsii), (ii) area cleared of Black Wattle and (iii) a control area which have no records of alien vegetation, were assessed. Data was captured using PVC live traps similar to Sherman and Willan traps. Traps were placed along transects in each area, once a month, from October to December 2013 for four consecutive days at a time. A total of 690 individual were caught during the 5400 trap nights of the study, with an overall trap success of 12.78%. In total five small mammal species were caught; one musk shrew (Crocidura flavescens) and four rodents. There was a significant difference between the number of small mammals caught between the three areas, with the control area and the cleared area being the most similar. Both the Shannon-Wiener and the Simpson’s diversity indexes were used, with the Shannon-Wiener indicating some significant differences between the areas and the Simpson’s indicating that there was not a significant difference between the areas. The Friedman Anova indicated a significant difference in the amount of species caught between the areas, with the Wilcoxon test indicating that there was significantly less species in the infested than in both the control and cleared areas; no difference was found between the cleared and the control areas. A similar difference in the total amount of individuals caught was also found. This was also found for the three most numerous species Rhabdomys pumilio, Micaelamys namaquensis, Otomys irroratus. Two species Saccostomus campestris and Crocidura flavescens were found in low numbers at both the control and cleared plots, but could not be found at the infested site. This study indicates that small mammal communities are different between the areas sampled with the infested area having the lowest species richness and abundance. The cleared area is not significantly different from the control area, but has a significantly higher species richness and abundance than the infested area, indicating that the area has improved and that small mammals could be used as an indicator of ecological integrity after alien eradication. No clear indicator species were identified, due to only five species being recorded. Rhabdomys pumilio dominated all areas sampled and has been identified to occur from very disturbed to pristine areas. Where more time and assistance is available, future studies will benefit from the inclusion of ecological integrity indices on other taxa, such as vegetation, alongside the small mammal communities. This would allow for correlations to be drawn and report on integrity at different levels of the ecosystem. As such the ecological integrity of the area can be determined using already proven indices to compare with the small mammal results. A further recommendation is that future small mammal studies should also include extended seasonal sampling including autumn and winter which have proved to yield higher trap success.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Perceptions on illegal dumping in the Ethekwini municipality
    (University of the Free State, 2014-01) Abel, Debra Jean; Lombard, Ray
    Illegal dumping is not an Ethekwini problem; it is not even a South African problem. Illegal dumping is a worldwide environmental problem and it has been studied in many countries from many angles. Local beliefs that ‘litter creates jobs’ and ‘it’s my property I’ll do as I please’ compound the problem of dirty streets and piles of rubble and rubbish dumped in back yards. These actions have negative consequences reaching much further than just the location of the dumping itself. Research typically follows either of two main foci: either constructing a database of the known dumping sites within a particular region with a view to developing a cleanup programme and/or monitoring the areas for new dumping, or an assessment of perceptions and motivations for dumping with a view to changing the attitudes and beliefs of the dumping community and ultimately changing the illegal dumping behaviour. Reviewing these latter studies has shown that, almost as many studies as there are, there may be varied correlations between dumping behaviour, age, gender, education, economic bracket, nationality, and any other factor that one may consider studying. In short, the combinations of attitudes and beliefs appear to be, to a degree, community specific and hence the methods by which one would try change those beliefs and ultimately behaviour, would also have to be tailored to that community setting. This study follows the second general focus of aiming to identify the attitudes and beliefs of that sector of Ethekwini residents who have been identified as likely illegal dumpers by virtue of the mounds of building rubble and other waste piled on their properties. In Ethekwini, there are property owners who dump building rubble off their steep banks in order to extend the level portion of the site, either with the intention of building on it later or just for the extra usable space. This end-tipped rubble slides down the slope, damaging sewer and storm water services causing contamination of streams and the designated conservation zones in valley bottoms. The study aimed to determine the reasons for dumping and the attitudes towards illegal dumping, and find out from the affected communities what they considered to be the most effective methods of getting the correct information regarding solid waste disposal out to the general public. To achieve these ends, both those considered to be dumpers and the immediate or nearby affected neighbours were given a semi-structured questionnaire and municipal officials (environmental health officers, building inspectors, municipal law enforcement, solid waste enforcement officers) were interviewed to see how the different departments deal with illegal dumping. The findings, in many respects, affirmed findings of other studies reviewed from Australia, America, Japan, Britain and Canada, that is: people think that it is the government’s responsibility to clean up after them; that what they are doing will have no negative knock-on effect on the environment (either physical or social); and that disposing of bulky waste correctly is expensive, unpleasant and inconvenient. A further community attitude that came out of the interviews that may be specific to the South African situation is the apparent belief that one’s vote is one’s currency; once you have voted for a particular political party, that party is obliged to provide everything you need or want, including to pick up rubbish that has been deliberately dropped. It became evident that the community consider the Ethekwini municipal waste disposal facilities poorly advertised and information about landfills, transfer or garden disposal facilities difficult to access. Even the municipal website, which in the researcher’s opinion is one of the better in South Africa for general information, particularly on environmental matters, is incomplete, out of date and a bit thin on specific details of waste disposal sites when compared to, say, Cape Town municipal website, which lists pages and pages of recycling sites (with company name, address, contact details and materials collected) and had addresses, site photographs and directions to all the municipal disposal facilities at the click of a button. From the results of the questionnaire, it appears that concise, colourful, area relevant information in local (free) community newspapers is the preferred method of spreading information. Almost as popular is a colourful pamphlet with the municipal bill although this will only access that limited portion of the population that actually pays for services. Media such as radio or television will have to be focused at certain times of the day. Newspapers that had to be paid for were the least favoured method of disseminating information. Ideally, education should start at school and be repeated regularly for the new attitudes and behaviours to become engrained in the next generation. The local by-laws governing illegal dumping are out-dated and fragmented; further they are seldom enforced (and to a different degree by the various municipal departments). These by-laws must be updated and fines must reflect the actual costs to enforce and clean up the mess; more importantly, the sanctions must be uniformly enforced and the public must be aware that dumping illegally carries a real risk of fines and/or prison time or at the very least community service and embarrassment in their community. Ideally, the investigating and enforcement of illegal dumping offences should be centralised so that an accurate database of hotspot problem localities and repeat offenders can be developed and monitored. In short, solid waste disposal and environment specific education plus enforcement of strong by-laws must form part of a two pronged assault against illegal dumping and litter in order to change the prevailing selfish attitudes and behaviours.