Long-term vegetation change in the Cape of Good Hope section of Table Mountain National Park, in response to climate, fire and land use

Master Thesis


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University of Cape Town

Climate change, fire and land use are known threats to biodiversity and are predicted to have a major impact on the Cape Floristic Region of South Africa over the next fifty years. This study investigated long-term (1966-2012) changes in the vegetation of the Cape of Good Hope Section of Table Mountain National Park in response to 20th century changes in climate, fire and land use. Climate variables and fire history were assessed over the last 100 years using linear regression, segmented regression and GIS analyses. Seventy eight repeat photographs were taken at stratified points set out across the reserve and changes in total vegetation cover and the cover of major growth forms (broad leaved shrubs, proteoids, ericoids and restioids) within three main vegetation types (Dune Asteraceous Fynbos, Restioid Fynbos and Proteoid Fynbos) were assessed. Transition matrices were used to investigate the extent of vegetation change likely over the next fifty years. In a separate study changes in the number of individuals as well as the cover of several Proteaceae species (Mimetes fimbriifolius, Leucospermum conocarpodendron and Leucadendron spp.) were also investigated using the repeat photographs.

Includes bibliographical references.