The many forms of thirst : investigating forest constraints in the Cape Floristic Region


Show simple item record Midgley, Alison en_ZA 2015-09-15T10:33:01Z 2015-09-15T10:33:01Z 2013 en_ZA
dc.identifier.citation Midgley, A. 2013. The many forms of thirst : investigating forest constraints in the Cape Floristic Region. University of Cape Town. en_ZA
dc.description.abstract Identifying the primary determinants of forest distribution has been a considerable challenge for ecologists. Although focus was traditionally directed towards climatological variables, predictive models showed that suitable forest conditions were far more extensive than the actual forest distribution. This study investigated the primary constraints of forests in the Cape Floristic Region (CFR), in South Africa. Based on a study by Lehmann et al. (2011) on savanna ecosystems, it was hypothesised that seasonal drought and moisture balance were more likely to limit forest distribution than broader rainfall patterns. The biomes of the CFR were mapped using Mucina & Rutherford’s (2006) vegetation map. Environmental data was extracted from Schulze (2007) and analysed using various statistical methods and the effective rainfall during the wet and dry seasons was examined in relation to vegetation patterns. As a complementary analysis, high resolution spatial data was extracted from the Worldclim database ( and run in the program Maximum Entropy. The presence of forest was shown to be constrained by soil moisture deficits in the driest half of the year. However there was considerable overlap of climactic and edaphic conditions across the different biomes. It was suggested that seasonal drought may play an indirect rather than direct role in shaping vegetation type. As the length of the dry season correlated with the length of the dry season, it was determined that seasonal drought may effect vegetation by promoting landscape-shaping fires. These findings have implications for predicting and understanding historical and future ecosystem shifts and their relationship with global and local climate change. en_ZA
dc.language.iso eng en_ZA
dc.subject.other Biological Sciences en_ZA
dc.title The many forms of thirst : investigating forest constraints in the Cape Floristic Region en_ZA
dc.type Thesis / Dissertation en_ZA
uct.type.publication Research en_ZA
uct.type.resource Thesis en_ZA
dc.publisher.institution University of Cape Town
dc.publisher.faculty Faculty of Science en_ZA
dc.publisher.department Department of Biological Sciences en_ZA
dc.type.qualificationlevel Honours en_ZA
dc.type.qualificationname BSc (Hons) en_ZA
uct.type.filetype Text
uct.type.filetype Image

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