RESEARCH THEMES

ANTHROPOGENIC: THE HUMAN IMPACT - PAST, PRESENT AND FUTURE

This involves documentation of archaeological sites on Tswalu and in the surrounding areas. There is a need to establish the human timeline within the Kalahari, closely identifying the eras. These will form layers in our knowledge of the archaeology and palaeontology of the area. The use of current techniques in remote sensing to identify areas with fossil and other archaeological sites will add significantly to our understanding of the human impact on the Southern Kalahari.

 

  • Do we understand early human involvement in the area – how did they survive and adapt to an ever-changing environment?
  • What was the involvement of Bushman in the area, and what was their relationship with early pastoralists?
  • How did early humans use the land?
  • How did humans interact with the environment and other living species?
  • What signs of this early interaction remain?

While humans always impact on the environment, understanding the extent of this impact, and identifying whether the impact is significant or not, is important. Species react differently to environmental impacts, some species tolerating high levels of interference, others showing marked reaction to very slight changes in their environment.

 

  • Can we identify these stresses and measure the tolerances for different species?
  • At what level does tourism impact a species negatively?
  • Reactions to stress differ, and purely researching behaviour isn’t always an accurate measure: what are the physiological reactions of animals being handled or interacted with (for example, through capture or tourism)?
  • Can the impact on animal behaviour be measured, and how?
  • How is animal ability to survive compromised by capture or tourism?
  • Humans place ever-larger demands on the occupation of wild places and usage of the animals that inhabit them; at what level is animal integrity compromised, and when is animal survival at risk?
  • What are the anthropogenic barriers on the Kalahari landscape (fences, roads, water supply, etc.), and what are their short- and long-term implications for the ecology of Tswalu?
  • What are the benefits of conservation to communities linked to Tswalu Kalahari Reserve, and what are the barriers to their longevity and ecological integrity?
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