Analysing Species Composition And Diversity Biology Essay

Fynbos is the term used to depict the flora of the South Western Cape Province which is dominated by Sclerophyllous bushs and boasts a rich diverseness of vegetations and zoologies. This paper aims to foreground the geographical distribution and environmental variables of this biome. Its species composing and diverseness, menaces to the system, preservation position and importance every bit good as historical context are briefly described below.

Geographic Distribution and Environmental Variables

In South Africa, over one tierce of all works species occur in the Cape Floral Kingdom, even though the land occupies less than 6 % of the country of the state, it occurs about wholly in the south-western and southern parts of the Western Cape Province ( Miller, 2002 ) . The land refers to the general geographical country and includes other flora types in the Forest, Nama Karoo, Succulent Karoo and Thicket Biomes. However, this botanical part refers chiefly to the two chief flora groups viz. ; the Fynbos, which is more dominant and the Renosterveld ( Miller, 2002 ) . Merely five other flowered lands are recognised which cover comparatively larger countries such as the whole of Australia and huge countries of the northern hemisphere. The Cape Floral Kingdom is the smallest of the six Floral Kingdoms in the universe ( Miller, 2002 ) . It is alone in that is the merely 1 to be contained wholly within a individual state ( Miller, 2002 ) . It is characterized by its high profusion in works species, with about 8 700 species and its high endemicity of which 70 % of works species are confined to the Cape Floral Kingdom ( Miller, 2002 ) .

Fynbos growing is common in the Western Cape Mountains, vale and coastal fields. The attendant growing formation is a crescent shaped set from Niewoudtville in the North to Cape Town in the South and E to Grahamstown ( Meadows, 1985 ) . The eastern boundary of the Fynbos ends following to the Indian Ocean around Port Elizabeth ( Meadows, 1985 ) . Fynbos makes up four-fifths of the Cape Floral Kingdom, which covers an country of less than 80 000 square kilometers ( Miller, 2002 ) .

The Fynbos Biome has a resemblance to the flora in other Mediterranean climes, which is found on the western side of land multitudes that have cold ocean currents. These parts have cool wet winters and hot dry summers, hence Fynbos has had to accommodate to wet winters and dry summers giving rise to its alone growing signifiers ( Meadows, 1985 ) . Renosterveld on the other manus tends to happen where rainfall is between 250 to 600 millimeters per twelvemonth and at least 30 % of this falls in winter ( Meadows, 1985 ) . Whereas Fynbos replaces Renosterveld in countries that receive about 600 to 800 millimeters one-year rainfall. Climatic differences from West to east, seashore to the inside and altitudinal differences are brought about by the mountains ( Campbell, 1983 ) . The western lower mountain inclines experiences cold wet winters and hot dry summers ( Campbell, 1983 ) . Further E of the mountain, rain falls throughout the twelvemonth, particularly during Spring and Autumn ( Fuggle and Ashton, 1979 ) . High air current velocities besides plays an of import function in the Fynbos ecosystem ( Campbell, 1983 ) . The Cape Super group sandstone and Malmesbury Shale dictates the dirt birthrate and alimentary handiness, this straight influences the flora of the Fynbos and Renosterveld ( Meadows, 1985 ) .

Speciess Composition and Diversity

Within the Fynbos part there are five types of growing signifiers, most of which have little thin foliages. The tallest bush in Fynbos are the Proteoids with big foliages which are 1 to 3 meters in tallness, holding big leathery leaves ( Fuggle and Ashton, 1979 ) . The Ericaceae household consists of the heath-like ericoid growing signifier, which has about 3 000 species ( Fuggle and Ashton, 1979 ) . It has foliages which are little and largely difficult and the borders rolled under. The restoids consists of about 310 species in the Restionaceae, a household closely related to the grasses and which unambiguously characterises Fynbos ( Fuggle and Ashton, 1979 ) . All restoids have separate male and female workss. Fynbos has the richest geophyte vegetation in the universe with 1 400 species ( Fuggle and Ashton, 1979 ) . Asteraceae which are portion of the daisy household, have more than 600 species and are endemic ( Fuggle and Ashton, 1979 ) . A lurid characteristic of Fynbos is the entire figure of species found within this topographic point, which merely occuppies a bantam per centum of South Africa. Small mammals common to Fynbos are Chama Baboons, Klipspringers, Grysbok, Dassies and Mongooses ( Meadows, 1985 ) . Merely around six bird species are endemic to the south-west Cape, such as the Cape sugarbird and Orangebreasted sunbird ( Fuggle and Ashton, 1979 ) . These two birds are found merely in Fynbos and play an of import function in pollenating flowers of true heath and proteas, from which they drink nectar. Fynbos is non peculiarly rich in reptilians and amphibious vehicles, many of the species populating there are both endemic and threatened such as the rare Geometric tortoise ( Campbell, 1983 ) .

The Renosterveld is characterized by the copiousness of the Asteraceae household, specifically the species, Renosterbos Elytropappus rhinocerotis, from which the flora type gets its name ( Campbell, 1983 ) . Renosterveld is abundant of species of geophytic workss and species that belong to the Orchid Family. Due to good dirt birthrate, it is possible that big game in the Fynbos Biome occurred in Renosterveld. Mountain Zebra Bluebuck, Bontebok, Buffalo, Cheetah and Leopard were common ( Campbell, 1983 ) . Merely two of these mammals have occurred in the Fynbos Biome in the past, such as the Bluebuck and Bontebok. Merely the Mountain Zebra, Leopard and Bontebok are still found in this country. The remainder have become nonextant in the Fynbos biome ( Campbell, 1983 ) .

Menaces to the system and preservation

About three-fourthss of all workss in the South African Red Data Book occur in the Cape Floral Kingdom, with 1 700 works species are threatened to some extent with extinction ( Campbell, 1983 ) . This figure is highly high for the given country of the Kingdom. Most Fynbos species are ecologically really finely balanced. They are highly localized in their distribution, and are endemic to that peculiar country ; even a little graduated table perturbation may do the extinction of an full species ( Campbell, 1983 ) . A serious menace is the spread of foreign workss such as Hakea, the Australian lappets Acacia Cyclopss, normally known as Rooikrans and Acacia saligna normally known as Port Jackson, and Pine trees from Europe ( Campbell, 1983 ) . They infest big piece of lands of otherwise undisturbed mountains and flats, their impact on these highly localised species are terrible. Foreigners are the major menace to Fynbos flora and its works diverseness, particularly in the mountains. On the Lowlandss and on the less steep inclines the menace is agriculture, new engineerings, commercial a forestation, the development of lodging undertakings, farms, fertilizers and harvests ( Campbell, 1983 ) . As a consequence of urban enlargement many species are nonextant or badly threatened. Although fire is indispensable to Fynbos growing, its abuse can hold terrible effects. Fynbos must fire, but fires in the incorrect season or excessively often does non let workss to hold clip to make adulthood to put seed ( Campbell, 1983 ) .

Fynbos countries within the Cape Floral Region are now regarded as a UNESCO World Heritage Site and are protected in a figure of militias. The Cape Flatss have the highest concentration of Red Data Book species 15 species per square kilometer are in danger of extinction ( Campbell, 1981 ) . There are 12 nature militias ( 51 099 hour angle ) and four wilderness country ( 123 115 hour angle ) that are in operation in the Fynbos countries ( Campbell, 1981 ) . Development is wholly disallowed within these countries. The Hottentots-Holland Reserve at nowadays is the largest modesty at ( 24 569 hour angle ) ( Campbell, 1981 ) . It is estimated that 75 % of South Africa ‘s rare and threatened workss are found within the Fynbos. In the Fynbos biome 26 species are already nonextant and 1700 species are threatened with extinction ( Campbell, 1981 ) .

Conservation schemes should include the preservation of Fynbos within urban countries, control of invasive flora by organizing drudge groups, hunt and rehabilitation programmes for endangered workss ( Campbell, 1981 ) . A major issue sing the preservation of Fynbos is the potency of the populace to protect a rare species by cognizing its location. Such cognition may be exploited, and the species may be subjected to illegal aggregation and cultivation. However ignorance may take to the public destroying species ( Campbell, 1981 ) .


Fynbos species allow for economic development of the Cape part. Merchandises, such as Fynbos flowers which are sold both dry and fresh for export, particularly the Protea. Rooibos tea and honey tea are Fynbos merchandises that are cultivated and exported. Buchu, rich in oil, is used on a big scale production of medical specialties and as an oil base for aroma ( Miller, 2002 ) . Fynbos dirt is sterile and foods are really scarce, due to the Quartzitic parent stone ( Meadows, 1985 ) . Plants have evolved holding adapted mechanisms for the efficient placement and absorbing of available foods ( Miller, 2002 ) . Some species have formed symbiotic relationships with bacteriums and Fungis. Bacteria stimulates the works in two ways. First the production of nodule branchs on the roots of certain species helps the works to absorb N that would non be available ( Miller, 2002 ) . Second it stimulates the production of heavy rootlets to better the ion uptake efficiency ( Miller, 2002 ) . Certain workss have adapted to pin down and digest insects by utilizing gluey glandular hairs on their foliages. Fynbos besides has about a 100 species of root parasites, which derive their foods from the roots of other species ( Miller, 2002 ) .

Some Fynbos workss have defensive mechanisms that give of a pungent odor and signifiers blisters on the tegument which evolved to deter herbivores ( Miller, 2002 ) . Fynbos workss metabolize energetically in the early forenoons and late afternoons in order to equilibrate their H2O content by conserving energy ( Miller, 2002 ) . Some Fynbos foliages adapted to organize cuticular hairs that increase the shininess of the foliage, thereby doing it more brooding and leting it to defy the harsh summers ( Miller, 2002 ) .


In the dodo record the first Sclerophyllous dodo appeared by the late Eocene in sou’-west Africa and was derived from a xeromorphic species ( Meadows, 1985 ) . This flora occurred and adapted in waterless to semi-arid climes, which intensified during the past two million old ages. This lead to flora taking root in the current sou’-west of the state ( Meadows, 1985 ) .


To reason this paper, the Cape Floral Kingdom, boasts enormous profusion off Fynbos life. It has a really delicate environment that is susceptible to legion external variables. However, this natural land, has a manner of recovering its ecological balance. The Fynbos therefore poses to be critical to varies works and carnal species including human existences.