Does estuarine health relate to catchment land-cover in the East Kleinemonde system, South Africa?

  • VA Masefield
  • GK McGregor
  • AK Whitfield

Abstract

Temporarily open/closed estuaries in South Africa are being subjected to varying degrees of catchment land-cover transformation. Natural landscapes and hydrological functions are integral to the functioning of estuaries. The relationship between catchment land-cover and the health of the East Kleinemonde Estuary was investigated between 2011 and 2013, using geographic information system (GIS) techniques to delineate and quantify land-cover in the whole catchment, in the lower section of the catchment, and in the 1 km and 100 m buffer zones surrounding the estuary. Human activities, as outlined by the Department of Water Affairs resource directed measures (RDM) studies, and their associated land-cover classes are described. Possible links between catchment and buffer zone land-cover class composition and the health of the East Kleinemonde Estuary were explored. There was a relationship between catchment land-cover and estuarine health within all assessed catchment delineations. Natural land-cover was determined to be the best predictor of estuarine health for the East Kleinemonde system. The methods employed in this study can be applied to other temporarily open/closed estuaries in South Africa to prioritise these systems for rehabilitation and/or conservation.

Keywords: buffer zone analysis, estuarine management, estuary conservation, GIS, natural land-cover

African Journal of Aquatic Science 2014, 39(4): 395–402

Author Biographies

VA Masefield
Department of Geography, Rhodes University, Grahamstown, South Africa; Current address: PO Box 574, Howard Place, Pinelands 7450, South Africa
GK McGregor
Department of Geography, Rhodes University, Grahamstown, South Africa
AK Whitfield
South African Institute for Aquatic Biodiversity (SAIAB), Grahamstown, South Africa
Published
2015-03-31
Section
Articles

Journal Identifiers


eISSN: 1727-9364
print ISSN: 1608-5914