Maputo Special Reserve and dung beetle conservation in the heterogeneous landscape of the Maputaland Centre of Endemism




conservation, dung beetles, endemism, Maputo Special Reserve, Maputaland, Mozambique, South Africa


Background: Maputo Special Reserve (MSR) in Mozambique lays within the Maputaland Centre of Endemism (MCE) and protects the biota of a habitat mosaic dominated by coastal dune forest and inland sand forest patches of different sizes surrounded by natural grassland.
 Objectives: To determine the importance of woody versus grassland vegetation for supporting endemic east coast versus widespread savanna dung beetles in the MCE in the face of increased accessibility and exploitation of woody vegetation in southern Mozambique, especially by charcoal burners.
Method: We used general linear mixed models, additive partitioning of diversity and ordination to analyse species abundance and occurrence across a mosaic of three major habitats in the MSR (grassland, sand and dune forest).
Results: High compositional heterogeneity was found between habitat types and study sites so that beta diversity was mostly higher than alpha diversity. Three distinct scarabaeine dung beetle assemblages defined from ordination were largely centred on the three habitat types. Out of a total of 61 species, greater numbers were associated with grassland (38) than sand (17) and dune forest (6) although abundance was greater in both dune forest and grassland than in sand forest. Biogeographical classification indicated that >40% of the species are endemic to the east coast of southern Africa with the remainder centred in adjacent savanna. Endemic east coast species were well represented in both forest (15) and grassland (11). Savanna species were better represented in grassland (27) than forest (8). Proportions of grassland species and their abundance declined across increasing patch sizes of sand forest becoming lowest in dune forest.
Conclusions: Conservation of endemic, east coast dung beetle species requires the preservation of both natural grassland and sizeable patches of forest in an undisturbed habitat mosaic. As the east coastal system is relatively small in extent with the MCE widely transformed in South Africa, the MSR is an important contributor to regional conservation of endemic species.


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How to Cite

Escobar, F., Davis, A. ., Deschodt, C. M., & Scholtz , C. H. (2021). Maputo Special Reserve and dung beetle conservation in the heterogeneous landscape of the Maputaland Centre of Endemism. Bothalia, African Biodiversity & Conservation, 51(2).



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