Original Research

The floristics of Sand Forest in northern KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa

D. Kirkwood, J. J. Midgley
Bothalia | Vol 29, No 2 | a602 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/abc.v29i2.602 | © 1999 D. Kirkwood, J. J. Midgley | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 01 October 1999 | Published: 01 October 1999

About the author(s)

D. Kirkwood, Department of Botany, University of Cape Town
J. J. Midgley, Department of Botany, University of Cape Town

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Abstract

We use multivariate analyses (ordination and classification) to assess both the floristic uniqueness of the woody vegeation of Sand Forest in relation to a range of other forest types in the region, and the range of variation within Sand Forest. Two broad Sand Forest subtypes and related Ecotonal Forests are described and grouped under the term Tropical Dry Forest, distinct from all evergreen forests in South Africa. Sand Forest, a dry semi-deciduous type in northeastern KwaZulu-Natals defined by the presence of the canopy dominant Cleistanthus schlechteri as well as Hymenocardia ulmoides, Psydrax fragrantissima, Croton pseudopulchellus and  Drypetes arguta. Sand Forests form a cohesive group in both DCA and TWINSPAN analyses, with similar composition of canopy dominants at sampled sites. This implies that ecological funcioning is similar across the geographical range in northeastern KwaZulu-Natal. However, turnover of subdominant species between recognisable Sand Forest types emphasizes the need to conserve the full range of extant forests.


Keywords

<i>Cleistanthus schlechteri</i>; DCA; KwaZulu-Natal; Maputaland; Newtonia hildebrandtii; Sand Forest; Tropical Dry Forest; TWINSPAN

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