Vegetation Assessment 2007
Since the park is generally a closed system (it is fenced) the condition of the vegetation is crucial to the survival of the animals. The vegetation assessment is used to determine the carrying capacity of the park (the number of herbivores that the vegetation can sustain). While conducting the fieldwork for the vegetation assessment the severity of the drought was obvious. Grasses were almost unidentifiable because of the over-utilization. Almost every site we analyzed had broken branches and low grass vigor. We identified and classified the grasses and trees according to their palatability. We also used the step point method to determine the amount of soil erosion and the insect and rodent damage. During these few weeks of fieldwork I learned a lot much about the tress and grasses of Southern Africa, their properties and importance. Doing the fieldwork was not only extremely important for the reserve and a great learning experience but it was a lot of fun. Arija, Emanuel, Janet and I conducted all the fieldwork and formed a close bond, laughing everyday and having fun while getting the job done. Once the fieldwork was completed Arija, Emanuel, and I analyzed the data, did calculations and wrote the report, which was then submitted, to the park manager. We had to be creative in determining the carrying capacity because the rainfall amounts were off the chart.