Plant water relations of Elytropappus Rhinocerotis with specific reference to soil restrictions on growth

Vermeulen, Tarina (2010-12)

Thesis (MScAgric (Soil Science))--University of Stellenbosch, 2010.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: The Renosterveld of the Western Cape region is often seen as a natural occurring veld type that will very easily re-establish itself wherever land is left unattended. In this study it was firstly noted that where wheatlands of the Berg River catchment (BRC) is left bare for a number of years, the renosterbos as a pioneer is slow in its re-growth response and when it does, certain patches in the landscape are preferred. This study therefore firstly focussed on the soil restrictions that widely determined the positions in the Berg River landscape where the renosterbos will re-establish itself. Secondly we needed to know whether some of the soil restrictions encountered could be alleviated and was possibly due to cultivation of this land. Through aerial observation it was found that a general patchiness does exist in the naturally occurring Renosterveld of the Voëlvlei area and hill tops of the region and was described by others as the true nature of this veld type. Closer investigation of the soils in the Voëlvlei reserve however showed that soil type played a major role in the patchiness found here. When re-growth of the renosterbos in previously cultivated areas was investigated, it was found that the soil type played the major role in the patchiness that occurred. The most commonly found soil restriction was soil density of the lower horizons. Any soil form that prevented the renosterbos to access the perched water table, to about 15m depth could not support the renosterbos. It is however our belief that soil could be prepared for the re-growth of renosterbos and through this action; renosterbos could also be used to alleviate the salinity problems found in this region. Additionally we investigated the impact of land-use change on the soil water balance and soil salinity by comparing a mature re-established stand of Renosterveld with an adjacent wheatfield. From the results, large differences in salinity and soil water behaviour were detected between the Renosterveld and wheatfield. Modelling of soil and plant water relations was done and the results were correlated well with field observations. This research also confirmed that the renosterbos through its deep rootedness is crucial in the conservation of other species found in the Renosterveld resulting from its ability to keep the water table down and with that the salts that is so often a problem in this area.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: In die Wes-Kaap word Renosterveld gesien as 'n veld tipe wat natuurlik voorkom en maklik sal hervestig in areas waar land sonder toesig gelaat word. In hierdie studie is dit eerstens opgemerk dat waar koringlande in die Berg Rivier opvanggebied kaal gelaat word vir 'n aantal jare, is die renosterbos as pionier stadig in sy hervestiging en wanneer terug groei wel plaasvind is dit selektief. Die studie fokus dus eerstens op grondbeperkinge wat die areas bepaal waar Renosterveld sal hervestig. Tweedens wou ons vasstel of die grondbeperkings wat voorkom in die grond en wat heel moontlik die oorsaak is van landbewerking opgehef kan word. Deur lugfoto-waarneming is dit gevind dat algemene leë kolle wel opgemerk is in die natuurlik plantegroei van die Renosterveld, in die Voëlvlei area, asook teen die berg hange. Dit word beskryf as 'n algemene kenmerk van die Renosterveld. Nadere ondersoek in die verskillende grondtipes van die area het egter gewys dat die grond tipe 'n belangrike rol speel in die voorkoms en groei van die renosterbos en uiteindelik die (her-)vestiging van Renosterveld. Die terug groei van die renosterbos is ondersoek in voorheen bewerkte lande. Dit is gevind dat die grond tipe 'n belangrike rol speel in die voorkoms van die leë kolle in die Renosterveld. Die mees algemene grond beperking wat opgemerk is, was die verdigte sub-horisonte. Enige grondvorm wat toegang van die renosterboswortels tot by die grondwatertafel (tot by 'n diepte van 15m) beperk, is nie voldoende om die groei van 'n volwasse renosterbos te onderhou nie. Dit is egter ons oortuiging dat die grond voorberei kan word vir die hervestinging van die renosterbos en deur dit te bewerkstellig sal grondversouting beheer kan word. Die impak van landgebruikverandering op die grondwaterbalans en grondversouting is ook ondersoek, deur 'n volwasse stand van Renosterveld te vergelyk met 'n nabygeleë koringveld. Die resultate het getoon dat daar groot verskille in die grondwatervlakke, asook die soutinhoud tussen die Renosterveld en die koringland voorkom. Modellering van die grond-en plantwaterverhouding is uitgevoer en data het goed gekorreleer met veld waarnemings. Die studie het bevestig dat die natuurlike bewaring van die diep gewortelde renosterbos noodsaaklik is vir die voortbestaan van blom- en skilpadspesies wat slegs in die Renosterveld voorkom asook die vermoë van die renosterbos om stygende watertafels en versouting te beheer waar dit dikwels 'n probleem in hierdie area is.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/5416
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