Special Issue: Drought in South African savannas

Posted 25 March 2020 by under Announcements & Notices • Journal: African Journal of Range & Forage Science
Special Issue: Drought in South African savannas

South Africa experienced a major drought in its summer rainfall areas peaking in 2015 and 2016. Such droughts are forecast to increase in frequency and intensity, as a result of global warming. Understanding drought is therefore of great importance for the country and its people, if they are to even out the effects of this climate perturbation. 

Volume 37, Issue 1 of African Journal of Range & Forage Science concerns the ecology of drought in South Africa and it is largely confined to topics within the traditional scope of the journal. 

Scientific understanding of the ecology of drought has been heavily influenced by rangeland scientists from North America and Australia. However, African rangelands differ in important respects from these regions, most notably in retaining a full complement of the African megafauna until a century or two ago, and still retaining that fauna in our larger protected areas. 

The idea for a Special Issue of this Journal came from a workshop on drought held by the South African Environmental Observation Network (SAEON) in November 2017. This special issue is focused on the semi-arid savannas of the Lowveld of South Africa, including the Kruger National Park (KNP). 

A single paper considers drought impacts on KwaZulu-Natal, which, however, experienced similar meteorological conditions (Vetter et al. 2020). The papers in this special issue provide well-documented insights into drought impacts on an African savanna, rich in the African indigenous fauna.

Several papers report on the importance of scale and landscape variability. The KNP philosophy had changed and instead of trying to ameliorate the drought by providing forage and water (dams etc.), KNP tried, instead, to boost resilience of the system by removing dams and closing waterholes. The result was considerable geographical variation in forage supply, and variability in rainfall timing all of which contributed to the details of what happened. The special issue will be available to access at no charge until the end of April 2020. Read here: https://bit.ly/2JlFWp1




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