Chapter

Vegetation types of the Greater Cape Floristic Region

Nicola G. Bergh, G. Anthony Verboom, Mathieu Rouget and Richard M. Cowling

in Fynbos

Published in print September 2014 | ISBN: 9780199679584
Published online October 2014 | e-ISBN: 9780191791949 | DOI: https://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199679584.003.0001
Vegetation types of the Greater Cape Floristic Region

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This chapter explores the relationships amongst vegetation types in the GCFR using ordination of floristic data (the ‘important genera’ listed in The vegetation of South Africa, Lesotho and Swaziland). Forest types are highly distinct, while the remaining units fall into four main categories corresponding to succulent karoo, fynbos, renosterveld, and subtropical thicket. Floristic data are not consistent with the Fynbos Biome concept, firstly because renosterveld (‘Mediterranean-type shrubland’, occurring on nutrient-rich soils, in largely winter rainfall climates) is distinct from fynbos (‘heathland’, occurring on nutrient-poor soils in a range of climates), with equally strong links to fynbos, succulent karoo, and thicket. Secondly, strandveld, currently included as a subtype of the Fynbos Biome, has stronger floristic links with subtropical thicket over most of its range. Subtropical thicket is a misunderstood assemblage that may better be defined as a geographically discontinuous and often patchy vegetation, including Albany Thicket, patches of thicket in fynbos and renosterveld, and strandveld units occurring from around Elandsbaai south and eastwards. The vegetation currently defined as strandveld to the north of the Langebaan region has greater affinity with succulent karoo. These patterns are all visible at the levels of genus and family; future analyses based on species may provide greater resolution, particularly for problematic boundaries such as that between dry inland mountain renosterveld and succulent karoo.

Keywords: fynbos; renosterveld; subtropical thicket; succulent karoo; thicket

Chapter.  15592 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Animal Pathology and Diseases

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