Esthea Ferreira

Best Grassland Science Project for the Regional Eskom Expo

Esthea Ferreira

Best Grassland Science Project for the Regional Eskom Expo

Title: Honeybush tea: more than just a tea

Summary: The two students investigated the effects of illegal harvesting on the density and size of honeybush tea plants. They hypothesised that the site closer to town would have more illegal harvesting of these plants and consequently there will be a reduction in the number of plants (density), as well as a reduction in plant size. The two sites had similar physical (soil, climate, etc.) conditions and were 15km apart. They employed random quadrates to assess the density of plants (#/m2). They also used strip transects, and measured the size of the plants that occurred along these transects. The methods were appropriately applied and they had a good understanding of the methodology. The results supported the hypothesis. The site closest to town has a lower plant density and the plants are smaller in size compared to the site further from town. Unfortunately no statistical procedures were employed to assess the significance of this (as would be expected from Gr. 11 pupils). The discussion and conclusions were not as well planned as the methods. They concluded that the difference in plant density and size is attributed to the illegal harvesting of honybush tea. Unfortunately, the students did not relate their finding to conservation planning or management of these plants. However, they did conclude that the illegal harvesting will negatively impact the “restoration” (supplementing natural populations of honeybush tea with plants from nurseries) of honeybush tea and the honeybush tea industry

 

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