Part 1: Elim Ferricrete fynbos
Conservation Manager, Rebecca Dames and Conservation Director of Grootbos Foundation, Sean Privett, have been working tirelessly for the last five years to protect the last remaining 5% of Elim Ferricrete fynbos found in the world.
So what is Elim Ferricrete fynbos?
Elim Ferricrete fynbos is a low-lying type of fynbos that grows in soils that have amazing agricultural potential. It is because of this that this land is often converted into farming land, leaving Elim Ferricrete fynbos critically endangered. Ferricrete soils are loved by farmers as the soil is rich in iron and nutrients, something that is not common in other fynbos soils. The vegetation itself has amazing bulb diversity and includes four species of Cone Bushes, the keystone species of this type of fynbos.
Where is Elim Ferricrete found?
Elim Ferricrete fynbos is distributed from Botriver to Arniston, with most of it occurring on low-lying areas of the Agulhas Plain at the tip of Africa. Because of the high endemism and the number of threats to the critically endangered and endangered vegetation, it is recognised as one of the world’s ‘hottest’ of biodiversity hotspots because of the concentration of species. Almost 2 500 plant species have been recorded across the Agulhas Plain. Of this, 447 plant species are listed as species of conservation concern, equating to almost 20% of the floral biodiversity of this region. This region is home to an array of unique vegetation communities including the critically endangered Elim Ferricrete fynbos.
Original estimates are that Elim Ferricrete fynbos once covered an area of 69 000 hectares. Research in 2009 estimated that there was approximately 29% of the original extent remaining of this ecosystem. The Grootbos Foundation has recently finished mapping all remnant patches of this vegetation type in and across the Agulhas Plain, scoring the remnant areas on the basis of condition as well as the level of invasion from alien invasive plant species.