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University of Pretoria (2007)

Vegetation ecology of the Soutpansberg and Blouberg area in the Limpopo Province

Mostert, Theodorus Hendrik Cornelis

Titre : Vegetation ecology of the Soutpansberg and Blouberg area in the Limpopo Province

Auteur : Mostert, Theodorus Hendrik Cornelis

Université de soutenance : University of Pretoria

Grade : Doctor of Philosophy PhD 2007

Résumé
The fast growing local human population, especially through immigration from countries north of South Africa, is placing the Soutpansberg and Blouberg areas under increasing pressure. The insatiable demand for more arable land within these agriculturally marginal and semi-arid areas is leading to severe degradation of the remaining natural resources. The Soutpansberg–Blouberg region has been recognized as a Centre of Endemism and is regarded as a region of exceptionally high biological diversity. The Soutpansberg Conservancy and the Blouberg Nature Reserve reveal extremely rich diversities of plant communities relative to the sizes of these conservation areas. The Major Vegetation Types and plant communities of the Soutpansberg Centre of Endemism are described in detail with special reference to the Soutpansberg Conservancy and the Blouberg Nature Reserve. Phytosociological data from 466 sample plots were ordinated using a Detrended Correspondence Analysis (DECORANA) and classified using Two–way Indicator Species Analysis(TWINSPAN). The resulting classification was further refined with table–sorting procedures based on the Braun–Blanquet floristic–sociological approach of vegetation classification using MEGATAB. Eight Major Vegetation Types were identified and described as Eragrostis lehmanniana var. lehmanniana–Sclerocarya birrea subsp. caffra BNR Northern Plains Bushveld, Euclea divinorum–Acacia tortilis BNR Southern Plains Bushveld, Englerophytum magalismontanum–Combretum molle BNR Mountain Bushveld, Adansonia digitata–Acacia nigrescens Soutpansberg Arid Northern Bushveld, Catha edulis–Flueggia virosa Soutpansberg Moist Mountain Thickets, Diplorhynchus condylocarpon–Burkea africana Soutpansberg Leached Sandveld, Rhus rigida var. rigida–Rhus magalismontanum subsp. coddii Soutpansberg Mistbelt Vegetation and Xymalos monospora–Rhus chirendensis Soutpansberg Forest Vegetation. Plant communities of each of the Major Vegetation Types are described. The primary ecological drivers of the event-driven and the classic climax vegetation types are discussed and management recommendations are made for effective conservation of these last remaining pockets of wilderness. The available data supports the recognition of the region as an important Centre of Plant Endemism and Biological Diversity requiring conservation attention. Copyright

Mots clés : ecology, Afromontane Forest, Centre of Biological Diversity, phytosociology, Limpopo Province, syntaxonomy, Soutpansberg Conservancy, vegetation classification, semi-arid event-driven ecosystems, mistbelt vegetation, Blouberg Nature Reserve, TWINSPAN

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