Atlantis Sand Fynbos

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(Previously described as Sand Plain Fynbos)

Distribution: Western Cape Province: Rondeberg to Blouberg on the West Coast coastal flats; along the Groen River on the eastern side of the Dassenberg-Darling Hills through Riverlands to the area between Atlantis and Kalbaskraal, also between Klipheuwel and the Paardeberg with outliers west of the Berg River east and north of Riebeek-Kasteel betweeen Hermon and Heuningberg. Altitude 40–250 m. 37.5% of this vegetation type occurs within the City and 62.5% outside the City. However, transformation rates are higher nationally (49%) than inside City borders (43%).

Vegetation & Landscape Features: Moderately undulating to flat sand plains with a dense, moderately tall, ericoid shrubland dotted with emergent, tall sclerophyllous shrubs and an open, short restioid stratum. Restioid and proteoid fynbos are dominant, with asteraceous fynbos and patches of ericaceous fynbos in seepages.

Geology & Soils: Acidic tertiary, grey regic sands, usually white or yellow.

Climate: Winter-rainfall regime with precipitation peaking from May to August. MAP 290–660 mm (mean: 440 mm). Mists (fogs) common in winter and supplying additional precipitation. Mean daily maximum and minimum temperatures 27.9°C and 7.0°C for February and July, respectively. Frost incidence about 3 days per year.

Endemic Taxa: Low Shrubs: Leucospermum parile, Erica malmesburiensis, Serruria linearis, S. roxburghii, S. scoparia. Herb: Steirodiscus speciosus.

Conservation: Critically endangered as it contains 100 Red Data species. Target 30%. About 6% conserved in Riverlands, Paardenberg and at Pella Research Site. Some 47% has been transformed, mainly for cultivation (agricultural smallholdings and pastures), by urban sprawl of Atlantis and for setting up pine and gum plantations. Woody aliens include Acacia saligna, A. cyclops and various species of Eucalyptus and Pinus.

Information on Cape Town's vegetation comes from Summarised Descriptions of National Vegetation Types Occurring in the City of Cape Town by Patricia Holmes, Biodiversity Management Branch, July 2008

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