Salsola nollothensis - Habitat Restoration in the Sperrgebiet on the Namibian Coast
Isabelle Brunner sowing Salsola nollothensis seed into sheltered sites created using seaweed washed up on the shore (Photo: A. Burke)
Salsola nollothensis is an important succulent species that promotes sand stabilisation and foredune establishment in a botanically diverse and interesting part of south-western Namibia. Plans to preserve S. nollothensis in this area pre-empt a five year mining operation by Namdeb Mining Corporation and are being realised through a partnership between Namdeb, The Millennium Seed Bank Partnership and the National Botanical Research Institute. Subsequent to vegetation loss in areas where bulldozed exploratory channels were made in the 1980s, the lack of any Salsola re-establishment has raised conservation concerns, while highlighting the need for active measures to facilitate post-mining rehabilitation.
To aid in the process of restoration, we aim to provide detailed information gathered from controlled laboratory experiments, which can then be used in the formulation of an effective conservation strategy. These experiments will include the determination of empty seed fraction, seed viability and germination requirements for samples collected at various relevant localities. The experiments will aim to identify any differences between seeds collected at different sites, while relating x-ray data and sorting methods to seed viability and germination. The effects of bract removal and depth of burial on germination of Salsola nollothensis seeds will also be investigated.
Project partners and collaborators
Millennium Seed Bank Project (Namibia)
National Botanical Research Institute
Key outputs / papers published since 2006:
Newton, R.J., Boyce, D.E., Burke, A. & Kolberg, H. (2009). Determination of Salsola nollothensis seed germination requirements for habitat restoration of Namibian sandy beaches. Poster prepared for the 19th Conference of the Society for Ecological Restoration International, Perth, 23 – 27 August 2009.
Burke, A., Newton, R., Boyce, D., Kolberg, H. & Brunner, I. (2011). Reestablishing a keystone species in an arid coastal environment: saltbush (Salsola nollothensis) in Namibia. Ecological Restoration 29: 25-34.