Monday, April 24, 2006


Renosterveld is part of the Fynbos Biome (Rutherford & Westfall 1994). There are about 1 000 endemic species in Renosterveld (Low & Rebelo 1996). Renosterveld is threatened by urbanization, alien plant invasion, misuse of fire and agriculture (Low & Rebelo 1996).

Terminology and Definition
The spelling 'Renosterveld' is preferred to all other spelling variants as being the most correct (Afrikaans) and least likely to cause confusion (Boucher 1980). Cowling et al. (1988) and Rebelo et al. (1991) partially translate Renosterveld to Renoster Shrublands.

Renosterveld is not a heathland because ericoid shrubs do not have a constant presence (Taylor 1978). It is a South African Mediterranean shrubland on base-rich soils (Cowling et al. 1986). It may occur on acid soils and Fynbos may occur on base-rich soils (Mucina & Rutherford 2004).

Cape Transitional Small-leaved Shrublands, which include Renosterveld, are defined as having (a) phytochorological spectra dominated by 'ecological and chorological transgressor species' that link the Cape Region with adjacent phytochoria, especially the Karoo-Namib and Afromontane Regions with about a third of a sample of flora being Cape endemics; (b) lower regional endemism than Fynbos with endemics that do not belong to typical Cape genera (Cowling 1984, Moll et al. 1984); (c) small-leaved shrubland structure with heaths, restioid and proteoid growth forms almost absent and deciduous geophytes prominent in richness and grass dominating the 'field layer' (Cowling 1984, Moll et al. 1984, Rebelo 1996); (d) an ecological distribution restricted to areas with at least 30% winter rain (Cowling 1984) and 250-600 mm average annual precipitation (rarely to 200 mm) on fine grained soils formed from Cretaceous mudstones and conglomerates, Klipheuwel Formation, Malmesbury and Cango Group phyllites, Bokkeveld Group shales, Cape Granites and the tillites and shales of the Karoo Supergroup (Taylor 1978, Kruger 1979, Cowling 1984, Rebelo 1996) that are usually more fertile than the soils Fynbos is found on (Taylor 1978, Boucher 1983, Cowling 1984, Moll et al. 1984, Cowling & Richardson 1995, Rebelo 1996). The Cape Transitional Small-leaved Shrublands include Acocks's Veld Types, Mountain Renosterveld (Veld Type No. 43), Coastal Renosterveld (Veld Type No. 46) and Karroid Merxmuellera Mountain Veld (Veld Type No. 60) (Cowling 1984). Cowling (1984) does not define Renosterveld within the Cape Transitional Small-leaved Shrublands.

Newton & Knight (2004) point out that Renosterveld is not ecologically homogenous and suggest that the definition for the Renosterveld is 'those parts of the country where renosterbos will grow' that have not been assigned to 'some other veld type'. Acocks, himself, did not map Mountain Renosterveld (Veld Type No. 43) where he felt it had invaded other veld types (Acocks 1988).

Acocks, J.P.H. (1988) Veld types of South Africa. Memoirs of the Botanical Survey of South Africa 57: 1-146.

Boucher, C. (1980) Notes on the use of the term "Renosterveld". Bothalia 13: 237.

Boucher, C. (1983) Floristic and structural features of the coastal foreland vegetation south of the Berg River, western Cape Province, South Africa. Bothalia 14: 669-674.

Cowling, R.M. (1984) A syntaxonomic and synecological study in the Humansdorp Region of the Fynbos Biome. Bothalia 15: 175-227.

Cowling, R.M., Pierce, S.M. & Moll, E.J. (1986) Conservation and utilisation of South Coast Renosterveld, an endangered South African vegetation type. Biological Conservation 37: 363-377.

Cowling, R.M., Campbell, B.M., Mustart, P., McDonald, D.J., Jarman, M.L. & Moll, E.J. (1988) Vegetation classification in a floristically complex area: the Agulhas Plain. South African Journal of Botany 54: 290-300.

Cowling, R.M. & Richardson, D. (1995) Fynbos: South Africa's unique floral kingdom. Fernwood Press, Cape Town, pp. 26, 31-33. ISBN 1-874950-10-5

Kruger, F.J. (1979) Plant ecology. In: Day, J., Siegfried, W.R., Louw, G.N. & Jarman, M.L. (eds) Fynbos ecology: a preliminary synthesis. FRD, CSIR, Pretoria, pp. 88-126. ISBN 0-7988-1686-4

Low, A.B. & Rebelo, A.G. (eds) (1996) Vegetation of South Africa, Lesotho and Swaziland. Department of Environmental Affairs & Tourism, Pretoria, pp. 1-85. ISBN 0-621-17316-9

Moll, E.J., Campbell, B.M., Cowling, R.M., Bossi, L., Jarman, M.L. & Boucher, C. (1984) A description of major vegetation categories in and adjacent to the Fynbos Biome. FRD, CSIR, Pretoria, pp. 12-14. ISBN 0-7988-3019-0

Mucina, L. & Rutherford, M.C. (eds) (2004) Vegetation map of South Africa, Lesotho and Swaziland: shapefiles of basic mapping units beta version 4.0 February 2004. CD, National Biodiversity Institute, Cape Town. No ISBN number

Newton, I.P. & Knight, R.S. (2004) The matrix. Veld & Flora 90: 162-165.

Rebelo, A.G. (1996) Renosterveld. In: Low, A.B. & Rebelo, A.G. (eds) Vegetation of South Africa, Lesotho and Swaziland. Department of Environmental Affairs & Tourism, Pretoria, p. 63. ISBN 0-621-17316-9

Rebelo, A.G., Cowling, R.M., Campbell, B.M. & Meadows, M. (1991) Plant communities of the Riversdale plain. South African Journal of Botany 57: 10-28.

Rutherford, M.C. & Westfall, R.H. (1994) Biomes of southern Africa: an objective categorization. Memoirs of the Botanical Survey of South Africa 63: 1-94.

Taylor, H.C. (1978) Capensis. In: Werger, M.J.A. (ed.) Biogeography and ecology of southern Africa, Vol. 1. Junk, The Hague, pp. 171-229. ISBN 90-6193-083-9

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