Original Articles

Some effects of termitaria on veld in the eastern Cape

DOI: 10.1080/02566702.1989.9648178
Author(s): T.D. SteinkeDepartment of Botany, Republic of South Africa, L.O. NelDepartment of Agriculture (Eastern Cape Region), Republic of South Africa

Abstract

A survey was conducted to determine some effects of termite mounds on the veld. Termitaria were found to occupy approximately 0,4% of the area of the paddock under investigation. Growth of grasses immediately surrounding intact termitaria increased as shown by the higher number of tillers and a high percentage of reproductive tillers. Although the plant species composition surrounding intact termitaria did not appear to differ very much from the adjacent veld, weathered termitaria revealed a change in species more typical of disturbed conditions. Nitrogen content was highest in soil from the centre of intact termitaria, but there were no significant differences in the surface soil from the edge of termitaria, from weathered mounds, or from undisturbed veld. Runoff from termitaria caused increased moisture penetration surrounding the mounds. The significance of an infestation of termite mounds on the veld is discussed.

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