research

Rehabilitation Trials

Rehabilitation
Trials

Trials to restore vegetation to bare and eroded patches on Wolwekraal Nature Reserve were carried out in 2016 and 2017 with the help of B Tech Nature Conservation students from NMU. The 2016 trials on deep silty soil were more successful than the 2017 trials on skeletal rocky ground. Click below for our report. We will develop a new approach to deal with shallow soil. We share the findings of our restoration research with farmers and restoration practitioners

Vegetation Monitoring

Vegetation cover and composition is monitored in 75 plots on Wolwekraal every
1-3 years in order to understand how it changes in response to rainfall, climate change or other events.

Plant Population Monitoring

Gina Arena carried out a detailed study of the Kraal aloe (Aloe claviflora) population on Wolwekraal Nature Reserve. In a follow-up study in 2021 she found that from 2015-2021 the drought, exacerbated by porcupine damage, killed 60% of these decade- or century-old aloes. Callum Clark and Courtney Hundermark monitored populations of a small succulent known as Prince Albert Vygie (Bijlia dilatata) and found that, depending on site, between 80% and 20% of the population was dead towards the end of the drought.

Animal Monitoring

Animal activity patterns on the nature reserve are monitored using a number of motion-activated cameras that record the time and temperature at which the animal was active. Initial results show that feral cats hunt both day and night, a pattern not seen in indigenous animals.

Vegetation mapping
Vegetation change
Plant population structure
Pink tamarix control
Pollination
Drought responses of plants
Animal activity patterns
Animal diggings
Veld restoration methods
Road dust composition
Litter decay rates
Attitudes towards fencing
Archaeology

Research Oportunities

We want to learn as much as possible about the history, archaeology, hydrology, geology, soil, microbes, plants and animals of Wolwekraal Nature Reserve and about interactions between people and the natural environment. We encourage students and established researchers to work on the reserve, and welcome local and international researchers including university groups, postgrad students and work experience interns. If you’d like to join us, fill out our research application form by downloading the form below.

Current & Completed Research

Research Gaps

Invertebrates
lichens
carbon sequestration
hydrology
ground water
soil types
woody plant population dynamics
bird, reptile and mammal home ranges and populations dynamics
impacts of feral cats
microplastics in soils, firewood harvesting, social attitudes to conservation areas and so much more ……

Research Oportunities

We want to learn as much as possible about the history, archaeology, hydrology, geology, soil, microbes, plants and animals of Wolwekraal Nature Reserve and about interactions between people and the natural environment. We encourage students and established researchers to work on the reserve, and welcome local and international researchers including university groups, postgrad students and work experience interns. If you’d like to join us, fill out our research application form by downloading the form below.

Current & Completed Research

Vegetation mapping
Vegetation change
Plant population structure
Pink tamarix control
Pollination
Drought responses of plants
Animal activity patterns
Animal diggings
Veld restoration methods
Road dust composition
Litter decay rates
Attitudes towards fencing
Archaeology

Research Gaps

Invertebrates lichens carbon sequestration hydrology ground water soil types woody plant population dynamics bird, reptile and mammal home ranges and populations dynamics, impacts of feral cats, microplastics in soils, firewood harvesting, social attitudes to conservation areas and so much more

Publications

Members of WCRO, interns and journalists have published on a wide variety of environmental and ecological topics relevant to the work at Wolwekraal in books and in the scientific literature and in the popular press. You can access lists of publications, including books, scientific and popular articles and theses relevant to Wolwekraal here, as well as publication lists for Richard Dean and Sue Milton. If you would like a copy of a publication, popular article or thesis and cannot gain access to it via the URL in the publication list, please contact Sue Milton-Dean WklConsResOrg@gmail.com 

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