Original Research

Thirty years of change in the fynbos vegetation of the Cape of Good Hope Nature Reserve, South Africa

S. D. J. Privett, R. M. Cowling, H. C. Taylor
Bothalia | Vol 31, No 1 | a509 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/abc.v31i1.509 | © 2001 S. D. J. Privett, R. M. Cowling, H. C. Taylor | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 15 September 2001 | Published: 17 September 2001

About the author(s)

S. D. J. Privett, Institute for Plant Conservation. Botany Department, University of Cape Town, South Africa
R. M. Cowling, Institute for Plant Conservation. Botany Department, University of Cape, South Africa
H. C. Taylor, Late, of the National Botanical Institute,, South Africa

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Abstract

This study used permanently marked 50 m: sites, surveyed at a 30 year interval, to provide a descriptive account of the temporal change in the fynbos vegetation of the Cape of Good Hope Nature Reserve. South Africa. Management records were used to examine the role of post-fire age. fire frequency and intensity, as well as biotic interactions (competition from overstorey proteoids and alien plants) in influencing vegetation composition over this time period. The mean similarity in species composition of sites between surveys was 62%, indicating an average of nearly 40% turnover in species over the 30 year period. The main causes of this change included differences resulting from different stages in the post-fire succession as well as the impact of differential fire regimes (especially frequency effects). Competition from serotinous Proteaceae. which proved highly mobile after fire, as well as invasive Australian acacias also impacted on the composition of the vegetation over time. The study demonstrated that fynbos communities are temporally dynamic and that the changes over time in species composition are caused by a variety of processes. The study also provided evidence for the role of temporal diversity in contributing to the high species diversity in fynbos systems.


Keywords

fire effects; fynbos; succession; temporal change; vegetation monitoring

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