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1 October 2007 Riparian-zone rehabilitation in pine plantations: Grassland vs woodland for plants and birds
G. Malan, E. Meyer, M. D. Panagos
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The study compared plant and avian diversity and species composition between four habitats to review the potential implications of two distinct management practices on a forestry estate, namely to rehabilitate riparian zones to grasslands or woodlands as the two habitats that historically occurred on the property. The study habitats were Plantation (Pinus trees in riparian zone), Bushland (recently harvested), Grassland (cleared of broadleaf plants), and Woodland (control). At seven sampling sites per habitat, a vegetation assessment was conducted, while birds were caught with mist nests. Plant species richness increased from Plantation to Woodland, whereas most bird species and individuals were found in Bushland. Plant and bird species composition differed significantly between habitats. Bushland and Grassland birds were closely associated with exotic forbs. Grassland attracted birds with diverse habitat and nesting-site associations, and Woodland birds associated with woody plants. It is recommended that the majority of riparian zones be managed as grasslands, although the exact affect of the biennial summer burning and presence of exotic plants on birds needs to be investigated. To attract cavity-nesting birds to the Estate, some suitable riparian zones should be rehabilitated to Woodland by planting Ficus and Acacia trees, as these trees are the most abundant and frequently occurring in this habitat. Rather than manage avian diversity per se, the African stonechat in Grassland and lesser honeyguide in Woodland can be employed as indicators of the rehabilitation state of the riparian zones.

G. Malan, E. Meyer, and M. D. Panagos "Riparian-zone rehabilitation in pine plantations: Grassland vs woodland for plants and birds," South African Journal of Wildlife Research 37(2), 159-178, (1 October 2007).
Received: 20 November 2006; Accepted: 1 July 2007; Published: 1 October 2007
indicator species
plant diversity
riparian zone
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