Future land cover change scenarios in South African grasslands - implications of altered biophysical drivers on land management
CITATION: Gibson, L., et al. 2018. Future land cover change scenarios in South African grasslands - implications of altered biophysical drivers on land management. Heliyon, 4(7):e00693, doi:10.1016/j.heliyon.2018.e00693.
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Future land cover changes may result in adjustments to biophysical drivers impacting on net ecosystem carbon exchange (NEE), catchment water use through evapotranspiration (ET), and the surface energy balance through a change in albedo. The Land Change Modeller (Idrisi Terrset 18.08) and land cover for 2000 and 2014 are used to create a future scenario of land cover for two catchment with different land management systems in the Eastern Cape Province for the year 2030. In the S50E catchment, a dualistic farming system, the trend shows that grasslands represented 57% of the total catchment area in 2014 decreasing to 52% by 2030 with losses likely to favour a gain in woody plants and cultivated land. In T35B, a commercial system, persistence of grasslands is modelled with approximately 80% coverage in both years, representing a more stable system. Finally, for S50E, NEE and ET will increase under this land cover change scenario leading to increased carbon sequestration but less water availability and corresponding surface temperature increases. This implies that rehabilitation and land management initiatives should be targeted in catchments under a dualistic farming system, rather than those which are predominantly commercial systems.