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University of South Africa (2017)

Vegetation ecology of Drakensberg foothill moist grassland on Hlogoma Mountain, Underberg, KwaZulu-Natal

Berruti, Sharron Marion

Titre : Vegetation ecology of Drakensberg foothill moist grassland on Hlogoma Mountain, Underberg, KwaZulu-Natal

Auteur : Berruti, Sharron Marion

Université de soutenance : University of South Africa

Grade : Master of Science (MS) in Environmental Science 2017

Résumé
Hlogoma Mountain is a small inselberg surrounded by farms and commercial forestry in the Underberg district (KwaZulu-Natal) within the Gs10 Drakensberg Foothill Moist Grassland. As little is known about the vegetation on Hlogoma, a survey was undertaken to classify, map and describe the plant communities occurring on the inselberg. A total of 100 (16 m2) randomly stratified sample plots were placed in homogeneous vegetation units within the 117 ha study area. A TWINSPAN classification, refined by Braun-Blanquet procedures, resulted in the identification of two major communities, five communities, 12 sub-communities and four variants. All communities were described and a vegetation map constructed. Ordinations identified key environmental variables that have an impact on the vegetation at the study site. A plant species checklist was created and analysed for floristic composition ; rarity and threatened species ; medicinal plants ; endemism ; phenology ; flower colour and elevation range ; species richness and plant community biodiversity. A total of 467 species were identified, represented by 271 genera and 87 families. Four Red Data species and a new Aspidoglossum species were discovered. Two near-endemic genera, two endemic species and 88 near-endemic species belonging to the Drakensberg Alpine Centre were found on Hlogoma. This study showed that Hlogoma Mountain is an inselberg with high plant species richness and endemism, and is a refuge of conservation importance for biodiversity.

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