June 2020

Welcome to Issue 2 of Grassroots for 2020. This issue brings a variety of topics in the hopes to cover the interest of you, all the readers! We start this issue with some “AWNSOME” research Craig Morris has been doing on Themeda triandra awns. In his article, Craig looks at how T. triandra awns work and whether long awns are better than short awns at transporting seed across the soil to a suitable germination site, and in the process, describes the intricacies of awn racing. As usual, this month’s news articles vary greatly from climate change, locust outbreaks and increasing black rhino numbers to fire regimes, impact of drought on biodiversity and cattle farming. In these unexpected and changing times, we also include an article on Covid-19 or the pandemic of mistreated biodiversity. Finally, a new book on holistic management was released late last year. Paulina Flores reviewed it for us and provides us with an in-depth summary of this latest handbook on holistic management. We are also sad to announce the deaths of two of our members and we remember them with tributes from two of their colleagues and friends. Due to the current Covid-19 circum- stances, the GSSA Congress will be go- ing digital and will have its first online congress ever! We will still have platform presentations, posters and question time. For South African delegates, you will still even be able to claim your CPD points required by SACNASP…so please get registering before it is too late. This online GSSA Congress will be held from the 30 June to 2 July 2020. For Christiaan and me, this will be our last issue as Sub-Editor and Editor of Grassroots as we will both be stepping down in July. I would like to thank you all for your contributions and support over the time that I have been part of Grassroots and I wish the new Editor well in continuing the growth of the magazine. Stay safe and enjoy this issue

March 2020

Welcome to the first issue of Grassroots for 2020! This first issue of the year begins well with two feature articles: In the first article, Hugh Pringle, from Australia, questions whether gully erosion is a major issue for key biodiversity values. Pringle, and his colleagues have done some work on this in Namibia and feel that it is an important question which then links up with one of our news articles by Heinz Meissner on further perspective and results on high density rotational grazing. Secondly, Nelmarié Saayman presents her preliminary findings on the impact of rehabilitation of old potato circles on soil biology and seedbanks within the Western Cape Sandveld. In this issue, we present a variety of news articles on current issues relating to grassland management, both locally and internationally. These range from climate change to alien invasive alien plants, fire and new pasture crops. We also congratulate the society’s current president, Debbie Jewitt, who is part of a team of drone professionals to publish a book on contemporary drone issues – a valuable book for any drone enthusiast. We would like to alert all our readers to the first announcement of our next GSSA Congress. This will be held in Jeffrey’s Bay from 29 June – 2 July. Calls for presentation and posters have already been sent out as well. There is an early bird discount for those who pay before 19 May 2020, so, if you interested in attending, get registering! A reminder to please subscribe to Grassroots simply by clicking on this link: and entering your details. You will then be notified, by email, when the next issue of Grassroots is released. You will not be sent any unnecessary spam. This is a free subscription and a great opportunity to keep you up to date with Grassroots. So far, we have 488 active subscribers. Thank you to those who have subscribed. The last issue of Grassroots attracted readership from 185 subscribers in 28 different countries – thank you for your support! Until next time, Happy reading!

September 2019

The 54th congress of the GSSA was recently held in Upington. This was a great success and delegates enjoyed the diversity of the Northern Cape. This year the congress started differently where tours were held at the beginning of the event and ran concurrently with the Research Skills Workshop: An introductory course to the statistical programme, R. Despite the windy weather, field trips were enjoyed by many. A brief summary and some photographs are included in this Grassroots. Congress officially opened on Monday evening and attendees enjoyed the variety of presentations, posters, discussion sessions and network opportunities. This issue of Grassroots contains some of the highlights of the event. In this issue, Justin du Toit presents us with a neat solution to what the singular word is for cattle. Something useful for next time we need to refer to a single bovine animal! The Grassroots photo competition is going well and, in this issue, we congratulate our overall winner, Sigrun Ammann, on her photo titled “Lush kikuyu/ryegrass pasture at the foot of the Outeniqua mountains”. Well done Sigrun! Please continue to support our competition and carry on submitting your interesting photos. Good news is that we have had confirmation from the South African Council for Natural Scientific Professions (SACNASP) that authors of feature articles can now claim a single CPD point for each article submitted, so please keep us updated with your feature articles. Until next time, happy reading!

May 2019

Welcome to Issue 2 of Grassroots for 2019! In this full edition, we start with a fea¬ture article by Everson et al., where we are introduced to some new research on bamboo in South Africa. Bamboo has the potential to reduce deforestation of South Africa’s natural forest by providing a source of fuelwood and building material. The water-use of this plant is not well understood under South African conditions and this DWS and WRC funded study aims to understand the effects of different bamboo species on water-use. In our second feature article, Charné Viljoen presents recent research on nitrogen application rates on planted pastures. This study illustrated that, under current management practices, there is a major pool of leachable nitrate and suggests lower application rates for kikuyu pastures and kikuyu pastures over-sown with ryegrass compared to the conventional guidelines. Lower nitrogen rates will allow volunteer legumes to fix nitrogen as well as allow the pasture to use the mineralised nitrogen. Finally, Costas Zachariades, from the PHP-ARC announces the introduction of the Tradescantia tip beetle into South Africa. This beetle has been bred as a biocontrol for Tradescantia fluminensis (Wandering Jew), an invasive alien plant that is affecting the recruitment of forest trees in the higher rainfall areas of SA. Our news articles, as usual, cover a variety of topics, ranging from the use of technology in conservation, long-term monitoring of vegetation and floating solar panels to invasive alien plants and conservationists who share similar views. In the previous issue, we introduced a photographic competition to get an idea of the interesting experiences and opportunities our readers have had in the field. Thank you to all who have supported this idea and all those who continue to support. The quality of your photos made judging a challenge. The winner for this issue’s cover photo is Greg Martindale with his great photo of research in action – Congratulations! We have also published the runners-up from each category in this issue for you to enjoy. Please keep submitting your pictures: your photo could be on the cover of the next issue of Grassroots. A reminder that our GSSA Congress is now just around the corner. Please remember to register as soon as possible! This year’s congress will be held in Upington from 1 - 4 July and we look forward to seeing you there. More information on the congress is found in this issue. Until next time, happy reading!

March 2019

This issue contains a variety of recent news articles, hopefully there’s some¬thing in here for everyone! These articles range from invasive species, soil fertility management and Lablab purpureus – a species used as a dry-season feed in Kenya to sustainable livestock production and key perfor-mance indicators for dairy farmers. We also would like to see what inter¬esting fieldwork our readers are up to and so we have started off the new year with a photo¬graphic competi¬tion. Here we invite you to submit any photos related to rangeland ecology and pasture man¬agement into our competition and your photo may be on the next cover of Grassroots. Any interesting photos taken while doing fieldwork are also encouraged – and will be put into our next issue! We would also like to hear of any achieve¬ments among our members – please let us know if you have recently completed your Masters or Doctorate or received any special awards. Finally, a reminder of the 54th GSSA Congress coming up later this year in Upington. Registration is now open, and abstracts can be submitted. It will be great to see you all there! Happy reading!

December 2018

Welcome to the fourth and final edition of Grassroots for 2018. As usual, this publication con¬tains a variety of news articles and a feature article by Chloe Maclaren, one of our members who is currently com¬pleting her PhD. Chloe introduces us to a method of integrating sheep into crop rotations – this aids in managing weeds which can save money and pro¬tect the environment. Some of the interesting local news is¬sues covered in this edition include those from Paul Gordijn and Tim O’Connor (SAEON) who have been looking at vegetation change in the Cathedral Peak grasslands and the response to different fire treatments. Wendy Collinson (EWT) introduces the new Brake4Wildlife project to try to reduce roadkill in protected ar¬eas, while Erik Verreyne explains the process of mapping the vegetation of Orapa Game Park. More on the global news front, we have a sum¬mary of Cromsigt et al’s paper on the use of large mammals for a better cli¬mate and Jack Durrell has created an awareness on the potential of Africa’s rangelands through his recently pub¬lished article. As the year draws to an end, the editorial team would like to thank all who have contributed to Grassroots throughout the year and would like to encourage all readers to send articles (both news and feature) to Grassroots in the new year. Finally, we wish all our readers safe travels, a happy festive season and all the best for a great new year. Happy reading!

September 2018

Memories through photographs, a summary of the 53rd conference, the outgoing presidential address. Two feature articles; one about being resourceful with some field equipment and the second looked into the challenges and opportunities for forage feed systems in East Africa. Articles also include Indalo Game Reserves Protected Environment, a 68 075 ha conservation area in the Eastern Cape and SAEON’s Lower Orange River Riparian Project, news on bush encroachment and the impact of shothole borer on our trees. Included is an “upcoming events page”. Please, if you are organising or know of any event of interest, and would like the Grassroots community to hear about it, contact us with the details and we will include it in the next issue.

March 2018

Urban wildlife habitats, the biodiversity damaging effect of fire control, how climate change risks the world’s microbes, the TreeApp, precision farming, the value of pee, the use of small fires on grazing management, fynbos-monitoring, why proper bird records is important , the transition of SA to a low carbon economy, how elephants can be stopped to trample trees, the new Editor-in-Chief of the AJRFS, pasture-based dairy farms to be both environmentally friendly and economically productive

November 2017

Featuring the new president of the society, influence of soil fertility on pasture growth, agricultural climate change book reviews, Eastern Cape rangeland assessment and thornveld resilience, global water crisis, shocking truth about electric fences, camera traps and genetic engineering as conservation tools, SA's bad and really bad invasive species list and new council member snippets.

August 2017

Featuring Climate Change Research in SA, Fire Art, Nitrogen and Grass-Legume pastures, World's Rarest Antelope and SA's First Biodiversity Tax Incentive.

April 2017

Bryan Mappledoram, invasive armyworm, climate change and water management, Limpopo communal dairy pastures and prickly pear invasions: friend or foe

November 2016

50th Annual Congress, Farmers Hold he Key to Nature Conservation, The Impact of Savanna Fires on Africa's Rainfall Patterns, Karoo Invasion: Is History Repeating itself?

September 2016

Featuring the 51st Annual Congress of the Grassland Society of SA, Remotely Piloted Aircraft in Rangeland Management, Virtual Reality as a Tool for Conservation and much more!

June 2016

Kikuyu oversowing methods, Managing invasive alien plants in South Africa, Scrub invasion of open grasslands, Photograph landscapes and contribute to science research

March 2016

Native Shrubs: A Simple Fix for Drought Stricken Crops in sub-Saharan Africa; Soil Erosion may Threaten Global Food Security; SAEON Launches New Study on Climate Change in southern Africa

November 2015

50th Annual Congress, Farmers Hold he Key to Nature Conservation, The Impact of Savanna Fires on Africa's Rainfall Patterns, Karoo Invasion: Is History Repeating itself?

September 2015

Irrigation and food security, Fire and goats, Sustainable by nature, AJRFS Special Issue

May 2015

Kikuyu oversowing methods, Managing invasive alien plants in South Africa, Scrub invasion of open grasslands, Photograph landscapes and contribute to science research