How does fire affect butterfly and plant diversity in South African shrublands?

SCIENCE FOR SUSTAINABILITY

In order to effectively manage endangered natural habitats, natural disturbances must be considered, especially when these natural habitats are biodiversity hotspots and key for species survival. Therefore, understanding the effects of natural disturbances such as fire regimes in the South African renosterveld shrubland is important for maintaining habitat quality. Topp et al. (2021) therefore investigated the ways in which fire and landscape context can affect both plant and butterfly diversity within this endangered renosterveld, a biodiversity hotspot in Swartland, Western Cape (see Figure 2).

Figure 2. (a) Koringberg, one of the larger renosterveld study fragments in the Swartland region, with both recently burned (3years prior to study, light green young growth, left hand side of photograph) and unburned (more than 30years since last fire, dark green woody vegetation, in foreground and on right hand side of photograph) patches. (b) The lower east‐facing slope of Contreberg which has not burned…

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