oa Koedoe : African Protected Area Conservation and Science - A floristic description of the Afromontane fynbos communities on Platberg, Eastern Free State, South Africa : original research



Within the Platberg area and the wider Drakensberg region, the shrinking natural resources and the threat posed to biodiversity are of concern to conservation management and require an understanding of long-term ecological processes. The vegetation of Platberg was investigated as part of an ecological survey to establish Afromontane floristic links to the Drakensberg as well as for the management of natural resources. From a TWINSPAN classification, refined by the Braun-Blanquet method, four main plant communities were identified, which were subdivided into fynbos, wetland, a woody/shrub community and grassland. A classification and description of the fynbos are presented in this article.

The analysis showed the fynbos divided into two communities comprising four sub-communities and seven variants. The fynbos community had an average of 28.34 species per relevé, ranging from 14 to 54 species per sample plot. Twenty-four endemic or near-endemic Drakensberg Alpine Centre (DAC) species and 22 exotic (alien-invasive) species were recorded. Numerous floristic links with the DAC, Cape flora fynbos and grassland bioregions to the north and west were also found. The description of the fynbos plant communities can serve as a basis for the formulation of management plans for the area.


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