The response of benthic macroinvertebrates and adult Odonata to alien invasive clearing
Modiba, Rifilwe Victor
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Department of Water Affairs has been removing invasive alien riparian trees along the riparian zones through Working for Water programme since 1995. In this study we assess the progress of the programme by studying the response of benthic macroinvertebrates and adult odonata to alien invasive clearing. We tested if clearing affected the SASS, DBI, ASPT and adult odonata species richness. The study area is in the upper reaches of the Luvuvhu river catchment in Limpopo province (South Africa). A total of 46 invertebrates families were sampled at total of 13 sampling units. The results suggest that clearing has a positive impact on benthic macroinvertebrates with all metrics increasing with an increase in number of times cleared, although the only result that was significant was that of ASPT. The adult Odonata metrics were negatively impacted by clearing and positively by increased canopy and alien cover. These results should however be viewed as preliminary as only one correlation, the positive impact of clearing on ASPT scores, was significant (F2, 10= 0.53, p= 0.6). Seventeen adult Odonata species were recorded from natural, alien and cleared sites. The objective of the study is to test whether clearing intensity of invasive alien plants cover affects SASS, DBI, ASTP, Odonata species richness, and to collect a reference collection of adult Odonata species.