Vegetation of the coastal fynbos and rocky headlands south of George, South Africa

Hoare, D. B. ; Victor, J. E. ; Lubke, R. A. ; Mucina, L. (2000)

CITATION: Hoare, D. B. et al. 2000. Vegetation of the coastal fynbos and rocky headlands south of George, South Africa. Bothalia, 30(1): a543, doi:10.4102/abc.v30i1.543

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ommunity structure and composition of the coastal fynbos and rocky headland plant communities south of George, southern Cape, were studied. Vegetation was analysed using standard sampling procedures of the floristic-sociological approach of Braun-Blanquet. The releve data were subject to TWIN SPAN-based divisive classification, and ordinated by Principal Coordinates Analysis with the aim to identify vegetation coenocline subsequently interpreted in terms of under­lying environmental gradients. Most of the sampled vegetation was classified as coastal fynbos. The Leucadendron salignum-Tetraria cuspidata Fynbos Community was found to occupy sheltered habitats, whereas the Relhania calyci- na-Passerina vulgaris Fynbos Community was found in exposed habitats The other two communities characterise strong­ly exposed rocky headlands. The Pterocelastrus tricuspidatus-Ruschia tenella Community is wind-sheared scrub, and the Gazania rigens- Limonium scabrum Rocky Headland Community is a loose-canopy, low-grown herbland, characterised by the occurrence of partly salt-tolerant and succulent herbs. The ordination of the fynbos communities revealed a horseshoe structure allowing a direct recognition of a coenocline spanning two fynbos communities along the Axis 1 interpreted in terms of exposure to wind and salt spray. A considerable amount of alien plant infestation was also present. This appears to be the largest threat to the continued existence of this coastal fynbos.

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