The vegetation of Swartboschkloof, Jonkershoek, Cape Province, South Africa

Master Thesis


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University of Cape Town

Swartboschkloof forms part of the Jonkershoek catchment complex at the headwaters of the Eerste River, Cape Province, South Africa. It has been selected for multi-disciplinary studies of Mountain Fynbos vegetation. The study area has a mainly equatorial aspect (north-facing) and receives an average of 1600 mm rain per annum, mainly in winter. Temperatures do not reach extremes. Winds blow mainly from the south-east, increasing in strength in summer. North-west winds blow intermittently in winter, bringing rain. The altitude of Swartboschkloof ranges between 285 m and 1200 m and the soils are derived from quartzitic Table Mountain Sandstone and porphyritic Cape Granite. Using the Braun-Blanquet phytosociological method, vegetation and environmental data were collected at 201 relevés throughout the study area; 101 of these relev~s are correlated with a survey of soils of part of the same area. Sixteen fynbos communities, grouped into three groups and five forest communities, grouped into two groups, have been identified. The data of a previous study by Werger, Kruger and Taylor (1972) have been interpreted in the context of this study. A map of the plant communities has been drawn and an attempt has been made to explain the distribution of the communities in terms of environmental factors. There is a strong link between the vegetation and soil geology but application of a method such as principal components analysis would be necessary to explain the relationship clearly.

Bibliography: leaves 111-117.