Repeat photography has emerged as an important tool for understanding and documenting long-term change in the environment. It has been used since at least the 1950s when Homer Shantz and Billy Turner published their pioneering work on long-term vegetation change in Africa. In South Africa, use of the technique was first published in 1990 by Timm Hoffman and Richard Cowling who used repeat photography to answer the question of whether the Karoo was expanding north eastwards into the Free State grasslands as predicted by John Acocks in the 1950s. Since then repeat photography has been widely used in Africa and indeed, across the world, to document different phenomena such as glacial retreat (e.g. on Mt Kilimanjaro), change in woody plant cover, and the effect of climate change on key, iconic species, such as the Quiver Tree, Aloe dichotoma.
Repeat photography has emerged as an important tool for understanding and documenting long-term change in the environment. The publications below provide some examples of how repeat photography has been used in southern Africa. An excellent general and recent text on the use of repeat photography can be found in Webb RH, Boyer DE & Turner RE 2010. Repeat photography: Methods, and applications in the natural sciences. Island Press. ISBN: 9781597267137.
- Hoffman M T and Cowling R M 1990. Vegetation change in the semi-arid, eastern Karoo over the last two hundred years: An expanding Karoo - fact or fiction? South African Journal of Science 86, 286-294.
- Hoffman M T 1991. Is the Karoo spreading? Veld and Flora 77(1), 4-7.
- Hoffman M T & O'Connor T G 1999. Vegetation change over 40 years in the Weenen/Muden area, KwaZulu-Natal: evidence from photo-panoramas. African Journal of Range & Forage Science 16 (2&3): 71-88.
- Hoffman MT and Rohde RF 2007. From pastoralism to tourism: The historical impact of changing land use practices in Namaqualand. Journal of Arid Environments 70: 641-658.
- Rohde RF and Hoffman MT 2008. One hundred years of separation: The historical ecology of a South African 'Coloured Reserve'. Africa 78(2): 189-222.
- Hongslo E, Rohde R and Hoffman T 2009. Landscape change and ecological processes in relation to land-use in Namaqualand, South Africa, 1939-2005. South African Geographical Journal 91(2): 63-74.
- Hoffman MT & Rohde RF 2010. An analysis of 20th century vegetation change in Namaqualand using repeat photography. In: Schmiedel U & Jürgens N (Eds). Biodiversity in Southern Africa - Volume II: Patterns and Processes at Regional Scale. Klaus Hess Publishers, Göttingen & Windhoek. Pp. 15-21. ISBN: 978-3-933117-46-5.
- Hoffman MT and Rohde R 2011. Long-term changes in the vegetation of southern Africa as revealed by repeat photography. In: Zietsman L (Ed.): Observations on environmental change in South Africa. Sunmedia, Stellenbosch. Pp. 79-83. ISBN 978-1-920338-24-4.
- Hoffman MT and Rohde RF 2011. Rivers through time: Historical changes in the riparian vegetation of the semi-arid, winter rainfall region of South Africa in response to climate and land use. Journal of the History of Biology 44(1): 59-80.
- Hoffman MT, Rohde RF, Duncan J and Kaleme P 2011. Repeat photography, climate change and the long-term population dynamics of tree Aloes in southern Africa. In: Webb RH, Boyer DE and Turner RM (Eds): Repeat photography-Methods and applications in the natural sciences. Island Press, Washington DC. Pp. 133-142. ISBN 978-1-59726-713-7.
- Rohde RF & Hoffman MT 2012. Historical ecology of Namibian rangelands: Vegetation change since 1876 in response to local and global drivers. Science of the Total Environment 416: 276-288.
- Masubelele ML, Hoffman MT, Bond WJ and Burdett P 2013. Vegetation change (1988-2010) in the Camdeboo National Park, South Africa using fixed-point photo monitoring: The role of herbivory and climate. Koedoe - African Protected Area Conservation and Science 55(1), Art. #1127, 16 pages. http:// dx.doi.org/10.4102/koedoe. v55i1.1127
- Hoffman MT. 2014. Changing patterns of rural land use and land cover in South Africa and their implications for land reform. Journal of Southern African Studies 40(4): 705-725.
- Masubelele ML, Hoffman MT, Bond WJ and Gambiza J 2014. A 50 year study shows grass cover has increased in shrublands of semi-arid South Africa. Journal of Arid Environments 104: 43-51.
- Ward D, Hoffman MT and Collocott SJ 2014. A century of woody plant encroachment in the dry Kimberley savanna of South Africa. African Journal of Range & Forage Science, 31(2): 107-121.
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