Elgin Shale Fynbos

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Distribution: Western Cape Province: Elgin Basin east of Grabouw and Villiersdorp Basin around Vyeboom, with pockets to the north at the uppermost part of Stettynskloof, Kaaimansgat and Rooihoogte Pass, and at the Steenbras Dam to the west. Altitude 200–450m. 3% of this vegetation type occurs within and 97% outside the City. However transformation rates are higher nationally (76%) than inside City borders (39%), thus City land is crucial to meet national conservation targets.

Vegetation & Landscape Features: Undulating hills and moderately undulating plains and steep slopes of adjacent mountains. An open to medium dense tall proteoid shrubland over a matrix of moderately tall and dense evergreen shrubs, dominated by proteoid, asteraceous and closed-scrub fynbos, and ericaceous fynbos in the wetter facies.

Geology & Soils: Acidic, moist clay-loam, Glenrosa or Mispah forms derived from Bokkeveld Group shales.

Climate: Winter-rainfall regime, with MAP 560–1 300 mm (overall mean: 830 mm), peaking from May to August. Mean daily maximum and minimum temperatures 26.2°C and 6.2°C for February and July, respectively. Frost incidence 2 or 3 days per year.

Endemic Taxa: Low Shrubs: Leucadendron elimense subsp. vyeboomense, L. globosum.

Conservation: Critically endangered. The target of 30% is double that of the remaining natural distribution. Some patches of the unit are statutorily conserved in the Theewaters and Limietberg Nature Reserves. The privately owned Solva Farm (near Grabouw) has probably the best preserved patch of this rare fynbos type. Almost 80% of the areas have been transformed, with cultivation accounting for almost 60% (mainly fruit orchards, pine plantations and the flooded area of the Theewaterskloof and Steenbras Dams). This region is characterised by very intensive and profitable agricultural land. Aliens Pinus pinaster and Hakea sericea are problems in the remaining remnants.

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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