Books  Habitats, Ecosystems & Natural Spaces  Heathlands & Related Shrublands 

Fynbos: Ecology and Management

By: Karen J Esler (Editor), Shirley M Pierce (Editor), Charl de Villiers (Editor)

272 pages, 250+ colour photos

Briza Publications

Paperback | Feb 2015 | #217263 | ISBN-13: 9781920217372
Availability: Usually dispatched within 1-2 weeks Details
NHBS Price: £19.95 $24/€22 approx

About this book

The fynbos region is one of the most spectacularly diverse places on Earth. This is not an idle statement. When one considers the diversity of insects, freshwater and marine species also associated with the Cape, this hotspot is arguably the hottest of all.

It is also confusingly heterogeneous, with a diversity of fine-scale habitats, from wetlands in the lowlands to seeps in the mountains, unique soil, nutrient, aspect and rainfall conditions, all of which combine to sustain and drive this diversity. Fynbos is a fire-adapted vegetation and needs fire to sustain itself: without fire the vegetation would thicken and senesce, permit trees to enter and dominate the system, and eventually exclude the precious nutrients liberated by fire and which the system depends upon for rejuvenation.

Fynbos: Ecology and Management is a guide that will help people who visit, live, manage or own land in the Fynbos Biome to appreciate and manage its extraordinary natural richness.


Introduction    1

Fynbos in context     4
Defining fynbos shrublands    4
Major vegetation types in the fynbos biome    11
The driving forces    24
Wetlands and why they are so important    28
What other vegetation exists in the fynbos region?    34
Fynbos plant biodiversity    37
In conclusion   44

Fire management    45
How do fynbos and renosterveld plants survive fires?    46
Can animals survive fires in the fynbos and renosterveld?    50
Questions and answers on fire management    51
Useful checklist when you intend burning a section of your land    67
Some golden rules to maintain your fynbos in a healthy state    68

Aliens and their management    69
Control – general principles    77
Control logistics   81
Control treatment methods    83
Threats from outside the property boundaries   91
Alien invertebrates in the fynbos biome    91
Alien vertebrates in the fynbos biome    94
In conclusion   97

Managing natural vegetation fragments in agricultural and urban environments    98
What is habitat fragmentation?     98
How to conserve biodiversity in a fragmented landscape    102
You and your fragment    106

Animal management     111
Managing land sustainably   112
Game management    112
Livestock management    124

Restoration: Fixing the damage    130
Alien-plant dominated veld    135
Overgrazed veld   143
Cultivated fields    146
Restoring after mining    149

Managing fynbos wetlands   156
Natural systems in an unnatural landscape    158
Understanding changes in wetland condition    159
Changing a changed landscape    175
Buffering wetlands: how much protection does your wetland need?   178
Managing the future of our fynbos wetlands    179
In conclusion    180

Sustainable livelihoods from fynbos   181
Where to start    181
Plant products from the fynbos   182
Cultivation of fynbos species    189
Other fynbos products    190
Nature-based tourism   204
In conclusion   206

Planning what is best for you and the land  207
Steps towards sound planning    207
The law and development in fynbos    215
Biodiversity and the EIA (Environmental Impact Assessment) procedure     224
How to ensure that biodiversity is addressed in EIA   229
In conclusion    230

Appendices    231
Appendix A: Management units   231
Appendix B: Useful web pages and contacts   232
Appendix C: Large (LSU) and Small Stock Unit (SSU) equivalents     236
Appendix D: Guidelines for monitoring   238
Appendix E: List of alien plants   247

Index   254
Alphabetical List of Terms    254

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Karen J. Esler is a professor in the Department of Conservation Ecology & Entomology, Stellenbosch University, South Africa. She co-edited the related book: Karoo Veld: Ecology and Management (Briza, 2006).

Shirley M. Pierce PhD is a plant ecologist and science communication consultant. She has researched and published across a wide range of fields, from estuarine to fynbos systems. Currently she directs communication for invasive alien plant removal and spekboom thicket restoration.

Charl de Villiers is an environmental consultant with a keen interest in biodiversity mainstreaming and ecosystem-based management. Charl lectures on biodiversity and integrated environmental management at the three Western Cape universities.

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