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Wednesday, 24 April 2019  8:09am SA Time 
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Mountain Fynbos

Mountain fynbos is found throughout the various mountain ranges of the Klein Karoo, the highest peak being Seweweekspoortberg (2 325 m) in the Swartberg range.

Within the mountain fynbos a number of different vegetation zones can be recognised but in general most consist of mixed shrubland, with Ericas (heathers) and Restios often occurring together in a dominant combination. The plant composition is largely influenced by rainfall and soil type. Trees are scarce but where they do occur they are usually endemic.

The mountain fynbos is the most secure of the four fynbos vegetation types, primarily because the steep, rocky slopes are not suited to cultivation. Nevertheless they have been invaded by a number of alien tree and shrub species. These days great efforts are made to try and eradicate these invaders but only a few decades ago the authorities happily gave out seeds of these "foreigners" to hikers to scatter in the pristine mountain wilderness.

One factor contributing to the great diversity of plant species, particularly in the mountain fynbos, is the broken nature of the terrain, which has encouraged development in isolation. This can be likened to an ocean with numerous tiny islands, each developing within its own particular micro-climate, soil and associated plant species.

  Article Date: 24 May 2004


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