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Presentation Poster presentation
Title Over-utilisation of communal farmland: effects on the soil seed bank and limitations for veld regeneration

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Short title Below-ground veld degradation in southern Namibia

Author(s) Dreber, N.

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Institution(s) Biocentre Klein Flottbek, University of Hamburg

Keywords Soil seed bank;degradation;Nama Karoo;safe site

Abstract A crucial problem in arid Namibia is land degradation due to a non-sustainable management of land resources. Especially communal rangelands are highly affected by intensive small stock farming. To evaluate if a degraded vegetation state is reversible or permanent and to find appropriate restoration methods, not only above ground data of plant species composition and distribution patterns should be considered. Concerning this matter the analysis of the soil seed bank gives a more comprehensive picture of biodiversity in space and provides information on the recovery potential of the vegetation towards more desirable conditions. This poster reports results from a case study investigating general patterns in the spatial distribution, species composition and seed densities of soil seed banks under contrasting land tenure. Microhabitats such as safe sites for seed retention and accumulation are specifically considered. The results prove a below ground veld degradation on heavily utilized communal farmland and indicate strong limitations in the regeneration capacity contrary to an adjacent less grazed pasture.

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