n Transactions of the Royal Society of South Africa - Waterhole distribution and the piosphere effect in heterogeneous landscapes : evidence from north-western Zimbabwe - research

Volume 74 Number 3
  • ISSN : 0035-919X
  • E-ISSN: 2154-0098
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Forage, water and soil remain critical environmental variables in the distribution of most wildlife species in nearly all protected landscapes. In landscapes where water and forage are scarce and not supplemented, most species succumb to starvation. To avoid animal species succumbing to water induced deaths, waterholes can be put in place to provide water during the dry season. This study intends to find out whether the distribution of waterholes in three study sites in north-western Zimbabwe created a utilisation gradient around them. This was tested through the use of curve estimation methods using remote sensing data. The results illustrate that evenly distributed waterholes in any landscape do not allow the piosphere effect to alter the vegetation around the waterholes as compared to areas with waterholes that are not evenly distributed. As such, to avert land degradation in protected areas there needs to be proper planning in the distribution of waterholes that are sunk to support wildlife during the dry season.

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