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I spoke to Professor Timm Hoffman, a plant biologist, on the slopes of Table Mountain, where he showed us a visual example of landscape change due to human activity. Timm runs a fascinating citizen science project, RePhoto which solicits old photographs to track changing landscapes.
This research shows how complex it is to understand landscape change – human use as well as efforts to protect environments can have unforeseen consequences. Then there is the regular influence of climate, rainfall and interactions with other species that would all impact on how landscapes change. Remember last week, William Bond explained how little is understood about the development of grasslands and forests! We need to fundamentally understand landscapes including how human use and conservation activity affects them, before we can consider effective conservation strategies.
Terms used in this video
Fynbos refers to a small belt of shrubland vegetation located in the Western Cape of South Africa. Known for its exceptional degree of biodiversity and endemism.
Kloof refers to a steep-sided, wooded ravine or valley.
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Extinctions: Past and Present
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