oa Koedoe : African Protected Area Conservation and Science - Vegetation of the eastern communal conservancies in Namibia : I. Phytosociological descriptions : original research



The establishment of communal conservancies aims to have the local communities share in the benefits especially of wildlife resources, in this way spearheading the conservation of the environment. The Desert Margins Programme in Namibia aimed to develop vegetation resource data for the Otjituuo, Okamatapati, Ozonahi, African Wild Dog, Otjinene, Epukiro, Otjombinde, Omuramba Ua Mbinda, Eiseb and Ondjou communal conservancies, in order to assist with natural resource planning. For this purpose, a phytosociological survey of this area, with 422 relevés, was conducted during 2004. The data was captured in Turboveg and forms part of the Namibian phytosociological database (GIVD AF-NA-001). The data was split into two, representing two major land forms, the '' and the '', respectively. A classification was undertaken using the Modified two-way indicator species analysis (TWINSPAN) procedure. Further refinements, based on field observations and literature sources, were performed using Cocktail procedures. Thirteen vegetation associations were formally described in this article, of which two were subdivided into subassociations. These associations can broadly be grouped into broad-leaved savanna types typical of the central and northern Kalahari of Namibia and microphyll savannas found on the transitions to the Central Plateau. One association, the , forms the southern fringe of the Zambesian Woodlands ecoregion of the World Wildlife Fund, whilst all the other associations fall within the Kalahari Woodlands ecoregion. The is the most widespread association and dominates the landscape. Threats to the vegetation include overutilisation and regular fires, both of which could easily lead to desertification. This threat is aggravated by global climate change.

This article described 13 plant associations of the central Kalahari in eastern Namibia, an area hitherto virtually unknown to science. The information presented in this article forms a baseline description, which can be used for future monitoring of the vegetation under communal land use.


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