Analysis of long-term changes in populations of the Clanwiliam Cedar (Widdringtonia cedarbergensis) using repeat photography

Bachelor Thesis


Permanent link to this Item
Journal Title
Link to Journal
Journal ISSN
Volume Title

University of Cape Town

Repeat photography photosets were used to analyse 20th century changes in populations of Widdringtonia cedarbergensis from four sites in the Cederberg Mountains, South Africa. Systematic evaluation of 115 photosets was combined with field observation and environmental data to determine the age class and degree of foliage cover, as well as fire frequency, rockiness of habitat, altitude, aspect of slope, annual mean temperature and annual precipitation for each tree viewed in photosets. Mortality and recruitment events were documented in each of the photosets. A total of 1315 trees were recorded in historical photographs (1931- 1982), with 968 of these shown to have died in the repeat photographs (2007-2013), indicating 74% mortality. With only 45 (3.4%) recruits being recorded, the total current living population of W. cedarbergensis in the repeat photographs was 392. There was no significant difference found in mortality or recruitment across the sampled sites. From the historical to repeat photosets there was an 8% increase in the proportion of mature adults and a 13% increase in the proportion of W. cedarbergensis individuals with sparse foliage cover. A generalized linear model was used to determine the effects of environmental factors on W. cedarbergensis mortality in natural populations.