Original Research

Karoo-fynbos biomass along an elevational gradient in the western Cape.

M. C. Rutherford
Bothalia | Vol 12, No 3 | a1818 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/abc.v12i3.1818 | © 1978 M. C. Rutherford | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 04 December 1978 | Published: 05 December 1978

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M. C. Rutherford,

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A short characterization of the vegetational gradient from two basic physiognomic forms of fynbos, through Renosterbosveld to arid Karoo vegetation of the south-western Cape, is given with reference to possible vegetational analogues within similar gradients in winter-rainfall areas elsewhere. Description is limited to some aspects affecting biomass and its measurement, as well as to consideration of community stability needed for valid comparison of community biomass. Live individuals, including single dominant species, all other shrubs, graminoids and other herbaceous species as well as dead individuals were harvested separately in each major community type within an elevational gradient corresponding to the vegetational gradient described. Greatest biomass (14311 kg ha-1) was found in a summit restionaceous community, while lowest biomass (7564 kg ha-1) was found in a low-lying succulent Karoo community. There was an inverse relationship between elevation and percentage dead material mass and a strongly positive relationship between elevation and percentage biomass of the graminoid group. Total biomass values appear to be in keeping with available data for analogue communities in different Mediterranean climate areas, although distinct differences sometimes occur in the relative biomass contributions of component groups.


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