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Background to the Cape Flats Nature Reserve. Frontpiece. Prepared by Richard Knight BCB Department. Photos: Tessa Oliver. The Reserve is situated between 33 o S latitude and 19 o E longitude. Part of the University of the Western Cape campus, Bellville South, Cape Town.

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frontpiece

Background to the

Cape Flats Nature Reserve

Frontpiece

Prepared by Richard Knight

BCB Department

Photos:

Tessa Oliver

where is the cape flats nature reserve
The Reserve is situated between 33o S latitude and 19o E longitude.

Part of the University of the Western Cape campus, Bellville South, Cape Town.

Bordered by Modderdam Road to the north, and the Cape Flats railway line and Unibell station to the south.

Where is the Cape Flats Nature Reserve?
history of the cape flats nature reserve
Conceived in the early 1960's by a group of University academics.

Planning continued to 1977 with the official proclamation of the Cape Flats Nature Reserve.

In 1978 the Reserve was proclaimed a National Monument.

The Cape Flats Nature Reserve is a private reserve and does not fall under the administration of Cape Nature.

The Curator liaises with Cape Nature to control illegal activities such as poaching harvesting of wild flowers.

History of the Cape Flats Nature Reserve

Notice is hereby given in terms of section 12 (4) of the Nature Conservation Ordinance, 1974 (ordinance 19 of 1974), that the Administrator has approved the establishment of a nature reserve in the municipal area of Bellville by the University of the Western Cape, on land of which it is the owner and which will be known as Cape Flats Nature Reserve.

history of the cape flats nature reserve1
The Reserve was originally 20 ha of Strandveld and Sand Plain Fynbos. History of the Cape Flats Nature Reserve

The area up to 1977 was heavily infested by dense stands of alien vegetation, especially Acacia saligna (Port Jackson)

A management eradicated programme is in place. Outbreaks of these alien plants still exists in areas adjacent to the Reserve e.g. along the railway line and the entrance road.

Parts of the Reserve such as sheltered areas between dunes and alien infested areas had informal settlements up to 1976.

New Life Science Building

cfnr extended in 1987
A southern Triangle area contributed 12 ha of Reserve extension in compensation for loss of habitat in constructing the new entrance to UWC.

This area was also infested by alien invasive species such as Acacia saligna and Eucalyptus calophylla.

The entire area has been cleared of the alien invasive plants (except for planted Eucalyptus calophylla).

Dune Thicket Species include Rhus crenata, Rhus glauca, Rhus laevigata and Rhus lucida, Olea exasperata, Euclea racemosa and Nylandtia spinosa.

Leonotis leonurus found in the Triangle but not in the main Reserve area.

CFNR endemic Euphorbia marlothii occurs in both areas.

CFNR extended in 1987

The Triangle was formerly inhabited by informal settlements and additionally was heavily infested with Acacia saligna. Originally this habitat was similar to other dune vegetation in the reserve.

part of cfnr was also removed
Dog-leg section was removed from the original Reserve after the construction of the new entrance road.

This area has mostly been developed with the New Life Science Building.

This vegetation was acidic sandy flatlands between the dunes and a different vegetation type.

Former species found include Blombos (Metalasia muricata), Dekriet (Thamnochortus spicigerus) and Taaibos (Rhuslaevigata). This site was very rich in geophytes.

Theprotea Leucospermumhypophyllocarpodendron and the orchid Herschelia lugens occurred nowhereelse (not been seen for a few years).

Part of CFNR was also removed
animals occurring in the cfnr
Amphibian include the sand rain frog (Breviceps rosei).

Reptiles include Mole Snakes (Psuedapsis cara), Cape Cobras (Naja nivea), Dwarf Chameleon (Bradypodion pumilus), and the Angulate Tortoise (Chersina angulata).

Bird species include Blacksmith Plover (Vanellus armatus), Blackshouldered Kite (Elanus caerulus), Lesser Double-collared Sunbird (Nectarina chalybea) and Cape Turtle Dove (Streptopelia capicola).

Mammal species such as Cape Dune Molerat (Bathyergus suillis), Cape Gerbil (Tatera afra), Small Grey Mongoose (Galerella pulverulenta) and Cape grysbok (Raphicerus melanotis).

Animals occurring in the CFNR
cape flats part of world s smallest floral kingdom
Cape Flats: Part of World’s smallest Floral Kingdom

Cape Flats: Part of World’s smallest Floral Kingdom

  • Cape Flats and Lowlands are part of the Cape Floral Kingdom and is smaller and more threatened than any of the other Kingdoms.
  • Cape Floral Region – one of 34 Global Biodiversity Hotspots and first non-tropical one to be recognised
cape flats nr centre of the cape lowlands
Cape Flats NR: Centre of the Cape Lowlands

Sand

Fynbos

Dune

Strandveld

Ecotone

Cape Flats NR: Centre of the Cape Lowlands

  • Cape Flats: human impacted, little remaining natural vegetation
  • Map shows Ecotone between two vegetation
  • The Cape Flats Nature Reserve, eighth most important site: due to size & floristics
cape flats dune strandveld
Cape Flats Dune Strandveld

Related to Sub-tropical Thicket of the east coast

Cape Flats Dune Strandveld

  • Broad-leafed shrubs
  • Calcareous sand substrate
  • 50% transformed in Cape Town
  • Much disturbed (sand-mining)
  • False Bay/Blaauwberg
  • Meets the 10% IUCN conservation target
cape flats sand fynbos
Cape Flats Sand Fynbos

Cape Flats world highest species extinction rates!

Cape Flats Sand Fynbos

  • Protea, fine-leafed and restio plants
  • High species richness
  • Deep, leached acid sands
  • > 75% transformed in Cape Town
  • Highly disturbed (invasives, mining)
  • One percent conserved
  • One percent conserved
natural vegetation area condition

Sand Fynbos

7 ha

Dune Strandveld

3 ha

23 ha

6 ha

Natural Vegetation: Area/Condition

Natural Vegetation: Area/Condition

42 ha Natural

vegetation

Cape Flats Nature Reserve 1998

dune strandveld heavily disturbed restoring

More Bare

Ground

Annual Plants

Dune Strandveld – Heavily Disturbed/Restoring

Dune Strandveld – Heavily Disturbed/Restoring

Indicators of Disturbance

Cape Flats Nature Reserve 2002

dune strandveld slightly disturbed original site
Dune Strandveld –Slightly Disturbed/Original Site

Original Reserve

Least disturbed

Dune Strandveld –Slightly Disturbed/Original Site

Cape Flats Nature Reserve 2002

Reserve Extension

Some restoration

sand fynbos light and moderate disturbance
Sand Fynbos: Light and moderate disturbance

Sand Fynbos: Light and moderate disturbance

Area excavated

for building

fill

Cape Flats Nature Reserve 2002

Gum Trees draw

of surface moisture

Fairly disturbance

Invasives &

Ploughing

8 km radius and only two other reasonable habitats

X

?

?

?

9km

Closest sites with Sandplain Fynbos all threatened

8 km

Closest 2 sites lost or under threat and are Dune Thicket

X

?

8 km radius and only two other reasonable habitats

8 km radius and only two other reasonable habitats

Cape Town

Few and distant heighbours

botanical society assessment of core sites 1997

Botanical Society: Assessment of core sites 1997

Botanical Society: Assessment of core sites 1997
  • Cape Flats NR: rated 8th most important
  • Had the 8th most number of species
  • Most isolated and last viable site in the central Cape Flats area
  • Only one of two sites to have a transition between veg. types

Other Consideration…

events since botanical society site ratings

Events since Botanical Society site ratings

Events since Botanical Society site ratings
  • #1 Milnerton RC been developed – small part reserved.
  • #3 Macassar – sand mining/human pressure.
  • #4 Kenilworth RC under threat of still more housing development.
  • #7 N1-N7 brushcut by Eskom due to fire risks.
  • #8 Cape Flats NR: development.

?

Only Rondebosch Com. & Rondevlei safe

postscript
Postscript

Extinction is for Keeps!