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Assessment of Human-Wildlife Conflict and the Attitude of Local Communities to Wild Animal Conservation around Borena Sayint National Park, Ethiopia
Human-wildlife conflict (HWC) has increased globally because of an increase in the human population, particularly in developing countries. This study was conducted to investigate the status of HWC and the attitude of local communities to wildlife conservation around Borena Sayint National Park, Northeastern Ethiopia. Data were collected between September 2017 and May 2018 using a face-to-face questionnaire survey (230), focus group discussions (7), and direct observation on the crop foraging. The data were analyzed using descriptive statistics, and the responses were compared using a nonparametric Pearson chi-square test. The majority of respondents (70%) reported the existence of HWC manifested because of the damage received to their assets (both crop and livestock). Canis aureus, Panthera pardus, Crocuta crocuta, and Papio hamadryas were stated as livestock depredators. Gelada, rabbit, porcupine, klipspringer, bushbuck, and duiker were considered as the major crop raiders. Over half (57.83%) of the respondents had a positive attitude, while others (36.09%) had a negative attitude towards the conservation of wildlife due to frequently faced problems. Respondents in different villages differed significantly (χ2 = 27.385, DF = 12, ) in their attitude towards wildlife. Possible mitigation actions need to be undertaken to reduce the wildlife damage such that wildlife can sustainably be managed in the park.
The Effects of Landscape Change on Plant Diversity and Structure in the Bale Mountains National Park, Southeastern Ethiopia
Bale Mountains National Park is one of the protected areas in Ethiopia that holds the largest area of Afroalpine habitat in Africa and the second largest stand of moist tropical forest. Nevertheless, human settlements, overgrazing, and recurrent fire are the main problems in the park. This study aimed to determine the effects of human-induced landscape change in floristic composition and structure in the park. The vegetation data were collected systematically from 96 sample plots laid along 24 line transects in the edge and interior habitats of the six land cover types. Vegetation composition and landscape structural analysis were made using R software version 3.5.2 and FRAGSTATS version 4.2.1, respectively. Patch number was strong and positively affected species richness (r = −0.90, ), diversity (r = −0.96, ), and basal area (r = −0.96, ), whereas mean patch size was strong and negatively influenced species richness (r = 0.95, ), diversity (r = 0.87, ), and basal area (r = 0.82, ). The overall species richness, Shannon diversity index, and Margalef index were significantly higher in the edge habitat; however, the mean basal area of woody species was significantly higher in the interior habitat at . This study uncovered that the park is floristically rich and diverse, and it provides a variety of ecological and economic benefits to the surrounding community and to the nation at large. However, these benefits are gradually declining due to the high level of anthropogenic activities in the park. Thus, integrated environmental management strategy that blends with sustainable use of natural resources should be implemented to minimize the threats.
Effects of Prosopis velutina Invasion on Soil Characteristics along the Riverine System of the Molopo River in North-West Province, South Africa
Invasive alien plants are one of the major threats to ecosystems. Many invasive plant species, such as Prosopis species, have been introduced around the world and can alter the soil properties of invaded ecosystems. It is one of the most aggressive invasive plant invaders in the North-West Province of South Africa, but little information is available about their influence on soil properties. This study was conducted to investigate the effect of Prosopis velutina invasion on selected soil properties at five different sites along the riverine system of the Molopo River in North West Province. At each study site, soil characteristics were measured from soil samples taken under P. velutina canopies, between canopies and in the benchmark stands free of Prosopis species. The effect on selected soil properties of P. velutina invasion varied between the three stands and between sites. In all the sites, almost all soils collected from under the canopies had a significantly higher soil exchangeable Ca, K, Mg, and Na, organic matter (OM), total nitrogen (TN), available phosphorus (P), Electrical conductivity (EC), and cation exchange capacity (CEC) than the other sample positions, except for the pH which had the high value in intercanopies. Significantly higher () values of almost all soil properties were found on the densely invaded sites (Tshidilamolomo I and Tshidilamolomo II) compared to lightly invaded sites (Mabule, Black Heat Farm, and Bray). However, it was difficult to generalise as the effects often appear to be site-specific. In addition, the findings also indicated that soils textural classes ranged between sand, silt, and clay in all study sites with a higher proportion of sand in the benchmark than in the soil under the canopies and intercanopies. Soil characteristics differed significantly more between sites than among positions. The site effects observed in this current study provide evidences that this species may occupy a relatively broad soil niche.
Patterns of Fish Assemblage, Growth, and Diet Composition in a Tropical River between Two Cascading Hydropower Dams
Construction of cascade dams has been shown to have impacts on fish assemblages and biodiversity. Yet, there is no literature on fish assemblages in the Murum River that connects the cascading Bakun and Murum dams in Sarawak, Malaysia. Hence, study on this modified ecosystem is necessitated to better understand the effects of the cascade dam construction on fish fauna. For this, fish samples were caught at five stations located along the river during both dry and wet seasons. Environmental parameters were taken concurrently with fish sampling. Length-weight relationship, condition factors, and diet composition of selected fish species in the river were also determined. The present study demonstrated that there are indications of the impact of cascading dams on the formation of a complex ecosystem in the Murum River, that is, changing from the shallow downstream of the Murum Dam to the deep transitional and inundated zone of the Bakun reservoir. The transitional zone in the Murum River exhibited the lowest fish species diversity, richness, and evenness during the dry season due to low pH and DO coupled with high turbidity. The biological indices improved when the water quality improved during the wet season. On the contrary, the diversity and evenness indices at the inundated tributary station decreased remarkably during the wet season, likely due to the migration of fish during the onset of the rainy season. This study showed that Barbonymus schwanenfeldii has a wider feeding habit which contributes to its higher distribution and abundance in the Murum River. The growth patterns of B. schwanenfeldii, Cyclocheilichthys apogon, Hampala macrolepidota, Lobocheilos ovalis, and Osteochilus enneaporos were better during wet than dry season. Overall, the condition factor of all native fish species in the Murum River was in poor to fair condition, whereas the exotic species, Oreochromis mossambicus, exhibited excellent condition (K value > 2) for both seasons. The increase in the number of O. mossambicus coupled with its high condition factor indicates biological intrusion and a potential threat to the native fish species in the Murum River. Continuous monitoring is essential to detect in-time risk issues associated with environmental degradation and biological invasion in this regulated and inundated river ecosystem.
Beyond Tokenism: The “Born Frees” and Climate Change in South Africa
Climate change and youth participation are emerging as important clarion calls today. Indeed, very few individuals will possibly counter a call for the involvement of young people in decisions and actions which (in)directly affect their lives. Presently, some of the greatest social problems faced by young South Africans are COVID-19, employment, and climate change. These challenges require the active participation of young people—locally known as the “born frees”—in the construction and operationalization of interventions, especially in light of the insufficient (sub)national response. That being said, policymakers often adopt top-down over bottom-up approaches, with the young generation often excluded or at best given a tokenistic role in climate decision-making processes. Therefore, this paper suggests some new ways of conceptualizing youth agency and brings to light how the born frees could efficiently take part or have a say in negotiating the path to climate adaptation, resilience, and mitigation. By drawing from the existing literature, the paper concludes that effective engagement with youth is essential in empowering them to key stakeholders or partners in adapting and/or mitigating climate change.
Pattern of Plant Community Distribution along the Elevational Gradient and Anthropogenic Disturbance in Gole Forest, Ethiopia
Vegetation-environment relationships are usually studied along elevational gradient. The patterns of plant community distribution in Gole forest, Ethiopia, were studied along elevational gradient and disturbances. Disturbances were recorded following the elevational gradient. For vegetation data collection, 62 sample plots of size 20 × 20 m were established along an elevational gradient (2728–3480 m.a.s.l). Data on species composition and environmental variables were measured and recorded in each plot. The elevation of each sample plot was measured using Garmin GPS. Anthropogenic disturbances in each plot were estimated using the following scales: 0 = no disturbance, 1 = slightly disturbed, 2 = moderately disturbed, and 3 = highly disturbed. R statistical package was used for cluster and ordination analysis. Boxplots and analysis of variance were used to assess the relationships between plant communities and environmental variables. Sorensen’s similarity coefficient was used to detect similarities and dissimilarities among communities. A total of 114 plant species belonging to 57 families and 94 genera were identified. Five plant community types were identified using agglomerative hierarchical cluster analysis. Every plant community had differences in composition and environmental variables. The variation in plant community distributions was significantly related to elevation and disturbance. Plant community distribution was negatively correlated with elevation () and also with disturbance (). Sorensen’s similarity index showed that there was a difference in the distribution of plant species composition among the communities. The difference in plant community distribution of Gole forest was significantly related to elevation. Disturbances also have a considerable influence on the plant communities and mitigation of disturbance should be the main measure that needs to be taken into account in conservation planning in the study area.