A test of the applicability of a wildlife conservation evaluation method to an afforestable region of Mpumalanga
The suitability of a wildlife conservation evaluation method, developed in an afforestable region of the southern Drakensberg, for use in a similar northern Drakensberg area was investigated. Sampling of grasshoppers, butterflies and birds was done during late summer along a 700 m altitudinal gradient in the Carolina-Machadodorp-Dullstroom region of the Mpumalanga Province, South Africa. The number of grasshopper genera and species of butterflies and birds was greatest at the low-altitude locality, and least at the high-altitude locality (except for birds). Most montane endemics were recorded at both the mid-altitude and high-altitude localities. The method distinguished between localities in terms of species composition, taxon richness and endemicity, and therefore could be used during a wildlife conservation evaluation of that region. However, species composition and the patterns of taxon richness and endemicity along the altitude gradient differed somewhat from those found in the Maclear district, southern Drakensberg region. This indicates that results of wildlife conservation evaluations may differ between superficially similar regions.