Western Shaleband Vegetation
Distribution: Western Cape Province: Embedded within the mountain ranges of Elandskloof, Limietberge, Wellington Sneeukop, Slanghoek, Du Toitsberge, Klein Drakenstein, Wemmershoek, Stettyns, Franschhoek (including Victoria Peak and Emerald Dome), Groenland, Hottentots Holland (including Triplets and Somerset Sneeukop), and Kogelberg. These bands extend eastwards through the Kleinrivierberge, Caledon Swartberg and Bredasdorpberge. Also included are the shale bands of the Riviersonderend Mountains and of Potberg. Altitude 50–1 800 m. 2.5% of this vegetation type occurs within and 97.5% outside the City. Transformation is low: nationally (4%) and inside City borders (<1%).
Vegetation & Landscape Features: A narrow 80–200 m linear feature (up to 1 km wide in a few places and also forming rings on some ‘Sneeukop’ peaks), smooth and flat in profile compared to surrounding areas. The band supports diverse renosterveld and fynbos shrublands of all structural types including waboomveld at lower altitudes.
Geology & Soils: Clays derived from shale of the Cedarberg Formation.
Climate: MAP 280–2 000 mm (mean: 1 070 mm), peaking from May to August. Southeasterly cloud brings heavy mist precipitation at higher altitudes in summer. Mean daily maximum and minimum temperatures 24.3°C and 5.0°C for February and July, respectively. Frost incidence 2–10 days per year.
Endemic Taxa: Tall Shrub: Protea lacticolor. Low Shrubs: Prismatocarpus cliffortioides, Protea caespitosa. Succulent Shrub: Lampranthus walgateae. Geophytic Herbs: Bobartia lilacina, Moraea lilacina. Graminoid: Pentameris hirtiglumis.
Conservation: Least concern. The target of 30% has been achieved since almost 45% of the unit is protected in statutory and local authority reserves such as Limietberg, Kogelberg, Riviersonderend, Hottentots Holland, Theewaters, De Hoop and Waterval, while an additional almost 30% is protected in mountain catchment areas such as Hawequas, Riviersonderend and Hottentots Holland. Small patches are protected in a number of private reserves. Some 6% transformed by pine plantations. Aliens Pinus pinaster and Hakea sericea scattered on about half of the area of the unit.