Comparative Impact of Invasive Alien Trees and Vineyards on Arthropod Diversity in the Cape Floristic Region, Western Cape
Magoba, Rembuluwani N.N.
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Invasive alien trees (IATs) and agriculture are rapidly altering the capacity of ecosystems to provide a variety of essential services, with decreasing habitat quality having an adverse effect on arthropod biodiversity. Although both agricultural intensification and IATs have an impact on ecosystems, it is unclear which of these two is currently the most severe. Here I compare the influences of vineyards and IATs on arthropod diversity in the Cape Floristic Region (CFR) from two perspectives. Firstly, insect diversity from four different vegetation types (native fynbos, IATs, cleared invasive alien trees (CIATs) and vineyards), and their ecotones were assessed. Secondly, soil compaction in the different vegetation types was assessed and compared to determine how soil compaction relates to arthropod species richness and abundance. Surface-active arthropods were used for these evaluations, as they were considered to be the most abundant, yet sensitive groups for these comparative assessments. Pitfall trapping, which has been widely used for such comparative studies, was the method of choice. Additionally, as a result of incidental wildfires at some of the study sites (IATs and fynbos vegetation), it was decided opportunistically to assess recovery of arthropod diversity following the impact of fire.