Original Articles

Effects of animal activity on the absorption rate of soils in the southern Karoo, South Africa

DOI: 10.1080/02566702.1992.9648321
Author(s): W.R.J. DeanFitzPatrick Institute, Republic of South Africa


The rates of absorption into various microsites in Karoo soils were compared. The absorption of water by hard, bare intershrub soils was significantly increased by the presence of emergence holes of adult cicadas (Homoptera: Cicadidae) and near nest‐mounds of the harvester ant Messor capensis. Both these insects play an important role in raising the amount of water that penetrates into the soil after rains. Absorption rates were also high in the soils of heuweltjie mounds but were reduced by sustained use of an area by sheep and were particularly poor on sheep paths.

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