The climate park will go a long way tohelp animals such as this lion, resting in theshade in the Namaqua National Park, tocool down.(Image: South African National Parks)Khanyi MagubaneGlobal warming has become a hot topic in both environmental and political circles, and South Africa has not been left untouched. The country’s wildlife in particular stands to suffer from an increasingly warm and dry climate.A new addition to the Namaqua National Park in the Northern Cape province is expected to take some of the heat off its inhabitants. The newly acquired 63 000ha of land along South Africa’s west coast will allow animals to migrate to cooler parts of the park. The land will increase Namaqua’s size to 144 000ha, making it the fifth largest national park in the country.According to South African National Parks’ (SANParks) managing executive of park operations, Paul Daphne, the park’s extension from sea level to an elevation of around 1 700m will allow a greater chance of survival for both animal and plant species.“Our state-of-the-art park will be able to accommodate the inevitability of climate change,” he says. “There may be other national parks where this climate change accommodation could take place, but this is the first one consciously designed with that in mind.”From diamonds to gameThe new addition to the Namaqua Park is owned by diamond mining company De Beers and has been leased to the SANParks for 99 years. Once the lease expires, SANParks will have the option of extending the lease for a further 99 years.The land started its commercial life as a diamond mine, but is now home to sheep farmers.Over the next three years, SANParks will start the process of opening the land’s borders to the existing park’s grounds. An estimated R8.5-million (US$852 000) will be spent on converting the new land into a suitable game park.According to SANParks, 55 local workers will be hired to rehabilitate old roads, 4×4 tracks and historic mining sites. New hiking trails and other game park facilities will also be added to the extension.Of further global environmental interest is the area in the park known as a biodiversity hotspot – the Succulent Karoo biome, or ecosystem. According to SANParks.org, this biome has been identified as a priority for protected area development. The new land’s coastline will increase the sanctuary’s ability to protect animals and plants that thrive in similar climatic and geographic environments.“The Succulent Karoo biome has been identified as a priority biome by the department of environment affairs and tourism, largely because of the high number of endemic species. It is one of the biomes with the least percentage under conservation,” says Daphne.The Succulent Karoo biome is mostly characterised by low winter rainfall and extreme summer aridity. Rainfall in the area varies between 20 and 290mm per year while summer temperatures often peak at 40°C. Fog is common in coastal areas and mountain winds blow throughout the year.According to De Beer’s head of ecology, John Kruger, the conservation of the area will enhance the potential for “ecologically-friendly tourism, and therefore create new, sustainable employment opportunities”.Warm temperatures pose threatRising global temperatures are a cause for concern for environmentalists around the world.According to the South African Climate Action Network, the predicted effects of climate change in South Africa include higher temperatures, particularly in the arid areas; a reduction in rainfall in summer rainfall areas; increasing incidents of droughts and floods; and rising sea level threatening low-lying areas.Humans will not be spared. Climate changes will increase various health risks ranging from skin cancer to extended outbursts of cholera and malaria.Global warming also threatens South Africa’s already vulnerable water supply system. It could also lead to desertification, which would threaten food security and the country’s unique biodiversity.A June 2008 report released by the International Panel on Climate Change indicated that up to two-thirds of the animal species in the Kruger National Park face extinction if global temperatures increase at the current rate.According to the report, a temperature increase of between 2.5° C to 3°C could lead to the extinction of 24% to 59% of mammals, up to 40% of birds, and up to 70% of butterflies. Between 18% and 80% of other invertebrates could also be lost, and up to 45% of reptiles.Speaking at a conference on climate change in July this year, Minister of Environmental Affairs and Tourism Marthinus van Schalkwyk addressed the importance of avoiding what he termed the “unmanageable impacts” of climate change.He said global warming should be curtailed through a worldwide response focused on prevention rather than cure.“This represents a make-or-break challenge to world leaders. To avoid the worst impacts of climate change, all countries need to carry their fair share of responsibility to limit a global temperature increase to below 2°C.“It will be a failure of this generation of leaders if any developed country shirks its responsibility for the problem.”According to Van Schalkwyk, South Africa needs to build a low-carbon economy to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and a climate-resilient society.It would not, he said, be economically, environmentally or politically sustainable for the country to continue without a carbon constraint programme.A 2002 report by the University of Cape Town on the economic effects of climate change in South Africa indicated that both commercial and subsistence farming stood to take a heavy blow.Although agricultural systems would not be nearly as badly affected as natural systems, the change in rainfall, temperature and CO2 levels would reduce crop yields.According to the report, a detailed biophysical study of maize, South Africa’s largest field crop, showed that the total value of production lost as a result of climate change was R681-million ($66-million), without the CO2 fertilisation effect. With the fertilisation effect, the loss stood at R46-million ($4.46-million).Because of the general positive effect of CO2, the impacts on crop production were found to be relatively minor in relation to the value of the sector as a whole.The report concluded that the greatest potential impact climate change would have on South Africa would be in the lucrative tourism sector, which makes up 3% of gross domestic product.It is, however, the non-market elements which stand to lose the most from rising global temperatures – loss of biodiversity and natural resources, and a grave impact on human health.Do you have queries or comments about this article? Email Khanyi Magubane at Khanyim@mediaclubsouthafrica.com.Related articlesSaving the land with ecotourism Rallying around cleaner energy South Africa’s national parks Useful linksSouth African Climate Action NetworkClimate Change NewsAfrica GeographicUrban Green FileDepartment of Environmental Affairs and Tourism – Climate change researchSouth African Weather Service – Climate change: what, when and where?
Share Facebook Twitter Google + LinkedIn Pinterest By Mark Landefeld, Ohio State University Extension Agriculture Educator, Monroe CountyEvery livestock owner I have talked to the last few weeks has the same situation, more mud and more tracked-up fields than they can ever recall before.Mud increases stress for the livestock and the farm manager. The way you manage, or don’t manage, muddy conditions affects your livestock’s performance and may have a big impact on damaging forage plants in your pastures.So, what are we going to do with our pastures and areas, which have taken the hits this year? Options range from complete renovation of the area, to doing nothing and allowing nature to take its course. My guess is, that both options, and something in between may be practical on most farms this spring. Even within a paddock, different treatments will probably be necessary because zones closer the water source will likely have more damage than other areas of the paddock.The dilemma: to add seed, or not to add seed? If we do nothing but give the areas time, forage will grow. What forage grows will be determined by how badly the area was tracked-up, the variety of seed dormant in your soils and your pastures fertility levels. It certainly seems we all have weed seed waiting and ready to grow if given the opportunity. So, what is a weed? In pesticide classes over the years, I’ve heard and I’ve said, “a weed is a plant growing out of place.” Luckily, for us, our livestock can utilize many weeds that grow in our pastures and get a good amount of nutrition from them, but a little extra help may be needed this year.I think our job now, in these moderately to heavily tracked areas, is to try and determine what is going to come back in these torn-up fields. Then we can provide assistance where we deem necessary to help retain, or obtain, the species of forage we want in those fields. Where heavily pugged fields and tracking with machinery have occurred, complete renovation is probably going to be needed. Other areas with moderate damage might be smoothed with a drag or other implement when the soil firms enough to get equipment on it and then seed the area with a no-till drill (This can take place on partially frozen ground as well as dry soil). In the lightly tracked areas, frost seeding should prove very beneficial to producers. This would also be a great time to increase the percentage of legumes and or grass varieties in your pastures.Frost seeding is a relatively inexpensive and quick way to incorporate new seed varieties or cultivars into a paddock. Light tracking from our livestock’s hoof action has provided the openings needed for the seed to make good contact with the soil in many pastures this year. Any producer wanting to use the frost seeding technique needs to put the seed on now, or in the next couple of weeks. As the name implies, frost seedings need freeze and thaw cycles after seed application to work properly. I always get producers asking me in mid/late March if they can still do frost seedings. My answer is generally, yes, you can still put the seed down, but if you don’t get several frosts after seeding, the results are probably not going to be what you want.In moderately damaged areas where complete renovation may not be needed, but we feel we still need to do something to reduce weed pressure, introducing a quick germinating variety of seed such as Italian ryegrass can be beneficial. These seeds start quickly and may help shade out unwanted weeds. This seed may be introduced by frost seeding methods we just discussed or by no-till drilling the seed into the soil. When soil conditions permit, seed could be introduced into some less damaged areas by no-till drilling the seed into the soil.Finally, as growth begins in the spring, new legume and grass seedlings will have a better chance to survive if they have help competing against the established plants. Frost seeded pastures should be grazed lightly or clipped in the spring at regular intervals when grass plants are around 8 inches in height. This will allow sunlight to enter the canopy so new legume seedlings are not shaded out. However, do not allow animals to graze newly seeded areas so heavily (to heights less than 3 inches) that they ruin the seeding before adequate roots are developed. Temporary electric fence may be needed to control livestock and prevent overgrazing. Strict grazing management to allow plants an adequate rest period after each grazing pass must be implemented to produce strong root systems and maintain healthy plant growth. If continuous unmanaged grazing is allowed to occur, your frost seeding efforts will be pointless.
There is no better advice than the admonition to make an inordinate investment in yourself. You are the only real asset you will ever have, and the value you create is generated by your growth.
Southampton midfielder Lemina fed-up at Galatasarayby Paul Vegas6 days agoSend to a friendShare the loveSouthampton midfielder Mario Lemina is fed-up at Galatasaray.Lemina is on a season-long loan in Turkey, though is frustrated with his situation.The midfielder is unhappy with the lack of action he’s seen, says Fotospor, and is considering his options.Lemina is now weighing up ending his loan in January.At St Mary’s, there’s little chance of a place being created for the player’s return. TagsTransfersAbout the authorPaul VegasShare the loveHave your say
About the authorPaul VegasShare the loveHave your say PSG midfielder Ander Herrera: No Man Utd player believed they could winby Paul Vegas6 days agoSend to a friendShare the lovePSG midfielder Ander Herrera has spoken of his move from Manchester United.The Spaniard insists there was no concern arriving, despite United knocking PSG out of the Champions League last season.Herrera stated: “It’s not difficult to get to PSG from Manchester United because I have the opportunity to play for an incredible club, but what happened last season is not normal. “Even among the players, no one thought they could win this game. “Football is like that, sometimes if you sleep two or three minutes, you are punished.”