Lourensford Alluvium Fynbos

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Distribution: Endemic to the City of Cape Town: Low-lying areas between Firgrove and Gordon’s Bay, including much of the Strand and Somerset West, extending up the Lourens River Valley to the Sawmill above Lourensford Estate. Altitude 20–150 m. 100% of this vegetation type occurs within the City and transformation level is high at 93%.

Vegetation & Landscape Features: Low-lying plains supporting low, medium dense shrubland with short graminoid understorey. Restioid and asteraceous fynbos are dominant, although there is some evidence that proteoid fynbos might once have been dominant. Some remnants are exceptionally rich in geophytes.

Geology & Soils: Plinthic, duplex, silty soils often with small cobbles and pebbles embedded. Found over Cape Suite granite and metasediments of the Tygerberg Formation (Malmesbury Group).

Climate: Winter-rainfall climate peaking from May to August. MAP 470–980 mm (mean: 640 mm). Mean daily maximum and minimum temperatures 26.0°C and 7.4°C for February and July, respectively. Frost incidence infrequent. This is the only alluvium fynbos under strong maritime influence.

Endemic Taxa: None.

Conservation: Critically endangered. Less than 1% conserved in the Helderberg and Harmony Flats Nature Reserves. The conservation target of 30% is unattainable since more than 90% of the area has been transformed for urban development (Helderberg Municipality), cultivation, pine plantations and roads.

Remarks: This unit falls within areas farmed since earliest colonial times (Farm Vergelegen of W.A. van der Stel since 1700). Most of the remnants are transformed by grazing, mowing and changes in fire regime, and it is uncertain what has been lost and whether the remaining patches are representative of the original vegetation type.

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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