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Potential ecosystem services and disservices of arthropods associated with Cyclopia (Honeybush) species.

Slabbert, Eleonore Louise (2016-03)

Thesis (MScConsEcol)--Stellenbosch University, 2016.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: Cyclopia species, commonly known as honeybush, are endemic to the Eastern and Western Cape of South Africa. Honeybush has historically been used as a tea, but has more recently been proven to have medicinal use properties. Honeybush biomass and extracts are used in the functional foods and cosmetics sectors both locally, and overseas. The growing demand for honeybush tea calls for further commercialization of the industry and a shift away from the predominantly (70%) wild harvested supply. The current study aimed to address the lack of baseline knowledge on insects associated with honeybush and serves to identify arthropods of importance for arthropod-mediated ecosystem services and disservices associated with honeybush cultivation. The study was conducted on wild and cultivated Cyclopia species (C. maculata and C. genistoides) in the Overberg region. Sampling methods for recording honeybush phenology and monitoring insects were used on a monthly schedule, from April 2014 to April 2015. Phenology observations were conducted using qualitative methods recording seasonal change and plant feeding damage by insects. Arthropod monitoring techniques included suction sampling, sweep netting, pan traps and delta traps. Focal insect taxa (Coleoptera, Hemiptera, Thysanoptera, Lepidoptera and Hymenoptera) were sorted and identified to family and morphospecies level where applicable. Families and morphospecies were classified into functional feeding guilds relevant to honeybush biomass production. Functional guild classification was used to assess the relative predator-prey and parasotid-host composition of the arthropod assemblages associated with honeybush. Qualitative phenology observations of wild C. maculata and cultivated C. genistoides indicated a high level of resemblance in seasonality of phenophase stages. The arthropod assemblage contained a diversity of families per functional feeding group relevant to biomass production, namely phytophagous, zoophagous and omnivorous taxa. Of the phytophagous arthropods a cohort of endopterygote and exopterygote taxa, among others, are noted as potential pest insects. A diverse collection of natural enemies (parasitoids and predators), from several Coleoptera and Hymenoptera families, were also abundant in wild and cultivated honeybush stands. Of the diverse natural enemy complex, parasitoids formed the predominant component with potential as valuable natural biological control agents. Disturbance caused by land management practices altered the functional composition of the arthropod assemblage significantly. This combined with isolation from the natural vegetation, due to cultivation, had a negative synergistic effect on the natural enemy complex (parasitoid and predatory wasps) in cultivated honeybush stands. The current research results highlight the importance of incorporating agroecological principles on fine- and landscape-scales for sustainable and ecologically sound honeybush cultivation. Research outcomes can be applied towards the development of land management practices, promoting a sustainable productive agroecosystem, for the commercialization of Cyclopia species. Considering the current biodiversity crisis and threatened ecosystem status of several honeybush species an ecologically-based approach is strongly recommended. Furthermore these findings form the basis for further research on the value of natural biological control agents for the integrated pest management of cultivated honeybush.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Cyclopia spesies, algemeen bekend as heuningbos, is endemies aan die Oos-en Wes-Kaap van Suid-Afrika. Heuningbos was histories en word tans gebruik vir die maak van tee, en dit is meer onlangs bewys dat dit medisinale gebruiks eienskappe bevat. Die groeiende vraag na heuningbostee vereis verdere kommersialisering van die bedryf en 'n verskuiwing weg van die oorwegende (70%) wild geoeste aanbod. Die huidige studie spreek die gebrek aan voldoende kennis van geleedpotiges wat geassosieer is met heuningbos aan. Die studie identifiseer geleedpotiges van belang vir geleedpotige-bemiddelde ekosisteem dienste en nadelige interaksies wat verband hou met heuningbos verbouing. Die studie is uitgevoer op wilde en aangeplante Cyclopia spesies (C. maculata en C. genistoides) in die Overberg-streek. Steekproefmetodes vir die opname van heuningbos fenologie en monitering van grondvlak geleedpotiges is op 'n maandelikse skedule toegepas, vanaf April 2014 tot April 2015. Fenologiese waarnemings was met kwalitatiewe metodes gedoen om die seisoenale verandering en plant voedingskade deur insekte aan te teken. Geleedpotige moniterings tegnieke het behels die gebruik van opsuig monsterneming, swaai -net versameling, panvalle en deltavalle. Belangrike geleedpotige taksa (Coleoptera, Hemiptera, Thysanoptera, Lepidoptera en Hymenoptera) is gesorteer en geïdentifiseer tot familie en morphospesies vlak waar van toepassing. Familie en morphospesies was geklassifiseer volgends funksionele voedings groepe relevant tot ‘n heuningbos biomassa produksie. Funksionele klassifikasie van eienskappe was gebruik om die relevante predatoor-prooi samestelling van die versameling geleedpotiges geassosieer met heuningbos te bepaal. Kwalitatiewe fenologiese waarnemings van wilde C. maculata en aangeplante C. genistoides het 'n hoë vlak van ooreenkoms in seisoensgebondenheid van fenofase stadiums aangedui. Die geleedpotige versameling bevat 'n verskeidenheid families per funksionele voedings groep wat belangrik is vir heuningbos biomassa produksie, naamlik plantetende-, inseketende- en omnivoriese insekte. Van die plantetende-geleedpotiges is 'n groep van insekte van verskillende lewenssikluse aangeteken as potensiële plaag insekte. A diverse versameling van natuurlike vyande (parasitoïed en predatoor), van 'n paar Coleoptera en Hymenoptera families, was ook volop in beide wilde en aangeplante heuningbos. Van die diverse natuurlike vyandkompleks vorm die parasitoïede die oorheersende komponent met die potensiaal as waardevolle natuurlike biologiese beheer agente. Versteuring veroorsaak deur grond bestuurspraktyke het die funksionele samestelling van die geleedpotige gemeenskap betekenisvol verander. Hierdie aspek tesame met die isolasie van die natuurlike plantegroei, weens aanplanting, het 'n negatiewe sinergistiese uitwerking gehad op die natuurlike vyand kompleks (parasitoïed en predatoor wespes) in aangeplante heuningbos lande. Die huidige navorsingsresultate beklemtoon die belangrikheid van die integrasie van agro-ekologiese beginsels vir volhoubare heuningbosverbouing. Navorsingbevindings kan aangewend word vir die ontwikkeling van grond bestuurspraktyke vir die bevordering van volhoubare agro-ekologiese kommersialisering van Cyclopia spesies. Met inagneming van die huidige biodiversiteit krisis en ekosisteem-bedreigde status van verskeie heuningbos spesies word ‘n ekologies-gebaseerde benadering vir die bedryf se uitbreiding aanbeveel. Die huidige navorsing vorm die basis vir verdere navorsing oor die waarde van natuurlike biologiese beheer agente vir die geïntegreerde plaagbestuur van aangeplante heuningbos.

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