Greater cederberg biodiversity corridor: provision of biodiversity profiles for maNagement a barrie low, penny mustart and helga van der merwe April 2004




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greater cederberg biodiversity corridor:

provision of biodiversity profiles for maNagement

a barrie low, penny mustart and

helga van der merwe

April 2004


coastal and environmental consultants

P O Box 370 Rondebosch 7701

Tel/Fax: 021-685 5445 Cell: 082 579 7040 email: coastec@mweb.co.za

VAT reg no: 4580173914


greater cederberg biodiversity corridor:

provision of biodiversity profiles for maNagement

a barrie low1, penny mustart2 and

helga van der merwe2

prepared for the project MANAGEMENT unit, GREATER cederberg biodiversity CORRIDOR



April 2004

1 Coastec Coastal & Environmental Consultants

2 Greater Cederberg Biosphere Corridor Steering Committee Member

executive summary

The Greater Cederberg Biodiversity Corridor (GCBC) is a CEPF-funded1 biodiversity conservation project, one of three such projects planned for the Cape Floristic Kingdom and adjacent karoo. Encompassing four subregions - the Northern Sandveld, Cederberg, Bokkeveld-Nieuwoudtville and Tanqua Karoo - the project, currently in its planning phase, aims to facilitate the implementation of landscape conservation in this region. One of the approaches towards the latter is through the development of biodiversity profiles for an Overview Plan, which is part of the Strategic Management and Business Plan for the region. This report contributes to the development of a management approach for the region by providing contextual and biodiversity profiles for the GCBC, together with appropriate recommendations.

The main content of the report focuses on building biodiversity profiles for the region using existing CAPE and SKEP data as well as inputs from an expert mapping exercise. The high biodiversity in the region is driven primarily by major geological and rainfall gradients. Significant gradients range from the Cederberg westwards to the West Coast, and eastwards into the Tanqua. The presence of several major perennial and seasonal rivers also contributes to the ecological diversity of the region.

Much of the region is under-conserved, but conservation planning should be less focussed on biodiversity, and more on the impacts of human population growth and poverty, the latter being a key threat to biodiversity.

Several recommendations for research within the region are made. These include a management-oriented floristic and vegetation analysis of existing natural systems, re-establishment of animal migration routes, the role and maintenance of ecotonal boundaries, an investigation into the over-abstraction of groundwater in the Northern Sandveld and a study of population impacts and the role of poverty on natural systems in the region.

CONTENTS

1.introduction 1

1.1To provide a general description and background of the GCBC 1

1.2Biodiversity profile of the GCBC 2

1.3Conservation status 2

1.4Research required for Action Plan 2

2.assumptions and limitations 2

3.location and extent 3

4.geology 3

5.CLIMATE 8

6.riverS 10

7.vegetation 13

8.LANDUSE 19

9.context 20

9.1International 20

9.2National 21

9.3Regional 22

10.general 25

10.1Flora and vegetation 25

10.1.1 Northern Sandveld subregion 26

10.1.2 Cederberg subregion 29

10.1.3 Bokkeveld-Nieuwoudtville subregion 33

10.1.4 Tanqua Karoo subregion 37

10.1.5 Key areas 39

10.2Fauna 39

10.2.1 Insects 41

10.2.2 Fish 41

10.2.3 Herpetofauna 46

10.2.4 Birds 47

10.2.5 Mammals 49

11.conservation status 53

11.1Conservation status of the Northern Sandveld subregion 53

11.2Conservation status of the Cederberg subregion 54

11.3Conservation status of the Bokkeveld-Nieuwoudtville subregion 55

11.4Conservation status of Tanqua Karoo subregion 55

11.5Conservation areas 57

12.conservation priorities 60

12.1Conservation priorities 60

12.2Ecological importance 64

13.Research PRIORITIES 66

13.1Historical aspects 66

13.1.1 Landscapes 66

13.1.2 Fauna 66

13.2Alien vegetation 66

13.3Alien animals 67

13.4Botanical research 67

13.4.1 Ecotonal boundaries 67

13.4.2 Floristics of region 67

13.4.3 Vegetation of the region 68

13.4.4 Pollination and dispersal syndromes 69

13.5Conservation priorities 69

13.5.1 Compatibility of CAPE and SKEP programmes 69

13.5.2 Conservation status and priority analysis 69

13.6Landuse 69

13.6.1 Impacts of groundwater abstraction 69

13.6.2 Off road vehicles and illegal roads 70

13.7Extensions to GCBC boundary 70

13.8Population 70

13.9Monitoring 71

14.conclusions 72

15.references 73

16.ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS 78


FIGURES

Figure 1.1. Location and extent

Figure 1.2 CAPE & SKEP boundaries

Figure 1.3 Geology

Figure 1.4 Mean annual precipitation

Figure 1.5 Rivers

Figure 1.6 Vegetation

Figure 2.1 Flora and vegetation hotspots

Figure 2.2 Insect hotspots

Figure 2.3 Fish hotspots

Figure 2.4 Herpetofauna hotpots

Figure 2.5 Bird hotspots

Figure 2.6 Mammal hotpots

Figure 3.1 Statutory conservation areas

Figure 3.2 Private nature reserves and conservancies

Figure 3.3 CAPE irreplaceability

Figure 3.4 SKEP framework for action

Figure 3.5 SKEP geographic priorities

Figure 3.6 Ecological importance

TABLES

Table 1.1 Geology of the Greater Cederberg Biodiversity Corridor

Table 1.2 Rainfall for the Greater Cederberg Biodiversity Corridor

Table 1.3 Vegetation of Greater Cederberg Biodiversity Corridor

ABBREVIATIONS

CAPE CAPE ACTION FOR PEOPLE AND THE ENVIRONMENT

CEPF CRITICAL ECOSYSTEMS PROJECT FUND

CFR Cape Floristic Region

CPU CONSERVATION PLANNING UNIT

GCBC Greater Cederberg Biodiversity Corridor

PMU PROJECT MANAGEMENT UNIT

SANP SOUTH AFRICAN NATIONAL PARKS

SKEP SUCCULENT KAROO ECOSYSTEM PROGRAMME

TMG TABLE MOUNTAIN GROUP



WCNCB WESTERN CAPE NATURE CONSERVATION BOARD

section 1: background
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