Impact of communal land use and conservation on woody vegetation structure in the Lowveld savannas of South Africa - Lidar results

K. J. Wessels, R. Mathieu, B. F.N. Erasmus, G. P. Asner, I. P.J. Smit, J. A.N. Van Aardt, R. Main, J. Fisher

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaper

1 Scopus citations

Abstract

People in the rural, communal areas of South Africa rely on live fuel wood for more than 90% of their energy requirements. Using airborne lidar from the Carnegie Airborne Observatory (CAO) we compared tree canopy cover and height distributions between communal landscapes with heavy utilization to fully protected public and private reserves in the Lowveld of South Africa. Rangelands and fields in most of the communal sites had more vegetation cover in the 5-7m and >7m classes than most of the conservation sites, presumably due to the absence of elephants in communal rangelands. On granite substrates there was a 50% reduction in woody cover below 5m in communal rangelands. These results in conjunction with related studies, suggest that communal land use have a higher impact on the woody cover below 5m than both elephants and fire.

Original languageEnglish (US)
StatePublished - Dec 1 2011
Externally publishedYes
Event34th International Symposium on Remote Sensing of Environment - The GEOSS Era: Towards Operational Environmental Monitoring - Sydney, NSW, Australia
Duration: Apr 10 2011Apr 15 2011

Other

Other34th International Symposium on Remote Sensing of Environment - The GEOSS Era: Towards Operational Environmental Monitoring
CountryAustralia
CitySydney, NSW
Period4/10/114/15/11

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Keywords

  • Carnegie airborne observatory (CAO)
  • Fuel wood
  • Lidar
  • Savannas
  • South Africa
  • Woody vegetation structure

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Computer Networks and Communications
  • Environmental Engineering

Cite this

Wessels, K. J., Mathieu, R., Erasmus, B. F. N., Asner, G. P., Smit, I. P. J., Van Aardt, J. A. N., Main, R., & Fisher, J. (2011). Impact of communal land use and conservation on woody vegetation structure in the Lowveld savannas of South Africa - Lidar results. Paper presented at 34th International Symposium on Remote Sensing of Environment - The GEOSS Era: Towards Operational Environmental Monitoring, Sydney, NSW, Australia.