|dc.creator||Batho, Andrew Paul.||
|dc.description||Thesis (M.A.)-University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban, 2010.||en
|dc.description.abstract||Because of the variety of ecological and economic functions they perform, estuaries and
mangrove swamps are recognised as amongst the most valuable habitats on earth.
However, estuaries and related mangrove swamps are threatened by human expansion and
exploitation which leads to changes in land cover change within and surrounding these
sensitive ecosystems. Such land cover changes can either have desirable or undesirable
effects on natural ecosystems. Examples of undesirable impacts of land cover change
include soil erosion and degradation, the removal of indigenous vegetation for human
development, and the pollution of water. Without an effective means of identifying,
monitoring and managing land cover changes over time, these sensitive ecosystems face a
bleak and uncertain future.
The researcher sought to determine whether wetland bird species could be used as an
effective method of monitoring the environmental health of estuaries and mangrove swamps.
In particular, the research sought to determine whether analysing fluctuations in the
populations of wetland bird indicator species, as evident in the CWAC Bird Census data,
could assist in monitoring and assessing undesirable and desirable land cover changes
within the Mgeni Estuary and Beachwood Mangrove Swamps.
An examination of the archival aerial imagery of the study area for the years 1991, 1997,
2003 and 2008 provided by the University and private companies, revealed significant
changes in land cover over the last two decades. The land cover changes identified
represent an actual decline or increase in the suitable foraging, roosting or reproductive
habitats of wetland bird indicator species within the study area. The research focused on
investigating whether fluctuations in wetland bird populations can be correlated with the
recorded changes in land cover over the last two decades. The research discovered a direct
and comprehensive link between fluctuations in specific populations of wetland bird indicator
species and the land cover changes identified within the study area over a 20 year period.||en
|dc.subject||Estuarine area conservation--KwaZulu-Natal.||en
|dc.subject||Land capability for wildlife.||en
|dc.title||The use of wetland bird species as indicators of land cover change within the Mgeni Estuary and Beachwood Mangrove swamps.||en