Repairing compound damage in arid ecosystems – challenges and controversies


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Repairing compound damage in arid ecosystems – challenges and controversies

Suzanne J. Milton & W. Richard J. Dean (2015) Transactions of the Royal Society of South Africa, 70:2, 127-133, DOI: 10.1080/0035919X.2015.1046971.

Using the Karoo as an example, we discuss past agricultural damage to the arid ecosystems, which is currently being followed by environmental changes and biodiversity losses associated with the new role of desert ecosystems as power factories (gas, uranium, wind and sun energy), mineral resources or retreats from the city. Development-related damage includes road building, vegetation clearing, soil compaction, water extraction and pollution. We present our views on prospects for ecologically and socially appropriate rehabilitation to rebuild complex and resilient ecosystems where recovery rate is constrained by aridity and rainfall unpredictability. We conclude that, to achieve intergenerational equity and conserve unique ecosystems, considerable investment in arid zone rehabilitation is needed to keep pace with the demands of a rapidly growing human population.

To link to this article: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/0035919X.2015.1046971

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