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Providing evidence to improve practice

Individual study: Long-term vegetation change in the Succulent Karoo, South Africa following 67 years of rest from grazing

Published source details

Rahlao S.J., Hoffman M.T., Todd S.W. & McGrath K. (2008) Long-term vegetation change in the Succulent Karoo, South Africa following 67 years of rest from grazing. Journal of Arid Environments, 72, 808-819


This study is summarised as evidence for the intervention(s) shown on the right. The icon shows which synopsis it is relevant to.

Reduce number of livestock Shrubland and Heathland Conservation

A before-and-after trial in 1935–2004 in karoo habitat in Western Cape, South Africa (Rahlao et al. 2008) found that stopping livestock grazing led to increases in the cover of shrubs and trees, decreases in the cover of succulent plants, and no change in grass cover after 67 years. In three of four locations shrub cover was higher 67 years after grazing stopped (33–56%) than when the area was grazed (30–40%). Tree cover increased in two of four cases (before: 1–5%, after: 12–13%), while grass cover did not significantly change in four of four cases (before: 0–1%, after: 1–2%). However, in one of four cases the cover of succulent plants was lower 67 years after grazing was halted (38%) than before grazing stopped (60%). In 1935 all cattle were removed from the site. In 1935 vegetation cover was visually estimated in seven hundred and two 900 m2 quadrats and in 2004 in seventy 900 m2 quadrats distributed across four distinct areas of the site.

(Summarised by Phil Martin)