Original Research

Floristic composition of wetlands of the South African section of the Maloti-Drakensberg Transfrontier Park

E. J. J. Sieben, D. C. Kotze, C. D. Morris
Bothalia | Vol 40, No 1 | a201 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/abc.v40i1.201 | © 2010 E. J. J. Sieben, D. C. Kotze, C. D. Morris | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 22 July 2010 | Published: 22 July 2010

About the author(s)

E. J. J. Sieben, Corresponding author: Department of Plant Sciences, University of the Free State, Qwaqwa Campus, South Africa
D. C. Kotze, Centre for Environment, Agriculture and Development, University of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa
C. D. Morris, Agricultural Research Council, Range & Forage Unit (ARC -RFU) c/o University of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa

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Abstract

A survey was conducted on the wetlands in the South African section of the Maloti-Drakensberg Transfrontier Park (MDTP), along altitudinal gradients from the foothills to the summit plateau in six different catchments. Environmental indices of soil wetness, texture and organic contents of the soil were determined to relate wetland community types to their environment. Thirty-six plant communities were recognized with a total of 56 subcommunities. These communities fall into five different categories: I, the high-altitude fens and seepages are a loose grouping of distinct vegetation types from the summit plateau and just below; 2, hygrophilous grasslands are the marginal areas of the wetlands that are temporarily wet and dominated by grasses, most of which are common outside wetlands; 3, shrubby wetlands are in most cases hygrophilous grasslands that have been invaded by shrubby species due to disturbance; 4, mixed sedgelands are the largest grouping and are dominated by sedges or grass species that are specifically adapted to wet conditions; 5, low-altitude sedge and reedlands are vegetation types that occur only marginally in the Maloti-Drakensberg area and are dominated by Carex acutiformis and Phragmites australis.The most important variables that explain the variation in wetland egetation are altitude and soil wetness.


Keywords

altitude; Drakensberg; grasslands; mires; soil wetness; wetlands

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Crossref Citations

1. The herbaceous vegetation of subtropical freshwater wetlands in South Africa: Classification, description and explanatory environmental factors
E.J.J. Sieben, T. Nyambeni, H. Mtshali, F.T.J. Corry, C.E. Venter, D.R. MacKenzie, T.E. Matela, L. Pretorius, D.C. Kotze
South African Journal of Botany  vol: 104  first page: 158  year: 2016  
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