Original Articles

An alternative approach to veld condition assessment in the non‐grassveld regions of South Africa

DOI: 10.1080/02566702.1991.9648287
Author(s): G.C. Stuart‐HillDepartment of Grassland Science, Republic of South Africa, F.O. Hobson, Republic of South Africa

Abstract

Traditional veld condition assessment methods score veld either in terms of its ‘state of health’ or its value for a specific land‐use objective. This is problematic and we propose that ‘veld condition’ should simply be a descriptive index, devoid of value judgement. The index should convey multivariate information about the current state of the vegetation at a site in the same way that a cow's breed, sex or age (all descriptive indices) convey multivariate information about that cow, to which different people can attach a value. We propose that the position which a sample site occupies in multivariate space (from ordination analysis) should be its descriptive index (or condition). Different land‐users can then all use the same descriptive index, but may interpret it differently, depending on their objectives. It should be noted that simply using multivariate statistics to analyse floristic data does not mean that the vegetation is being assessed according to the approach outlined in this paper.

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