Southern Afrotemperate Forest


Distribution: W Cape & E Cape, largest complex in southern Cape (Knysna-Tsitsikamma). 0.4% of this vegetation type occurs within and 99.6% outside the City. Higher transformation rates occur nationally (21%) than inside City borders (1%).


Vegetation & landscape: Tall multilayered afrotemperate forests dominated by yellowwoods, Ocotea bullata, Olea capensis and others. The emergent tree species have a subtropical affinity and are mostly widespread throughout South Africa. Tree species which occur in Cape Town Southern Afrotemperate Forest patches include Podocarpus latifolius, Rapanea menaphloeos, Cunonia capensis, Curtisia dentata and Kiggelaria africana. Well developed shrub understorey and herb layers.

Geology & soils: vary from shallow forms to sandy humic forms derived from TMG sandstones and shales of Cape Supergroup & partly also from Cape Granite.

Endemic taxa: Tall Tree: Platylophus trifoliatus; small trees: Apodytes geldenhuysii, Cryptocarya angustifolia, Virgilia oroboides subsp. ferruginea, V. oroboides subsp. oroboides. Megaherb: Strelitzia alba; geophytic herbs: Amauropelta knysnaensis, Clivia mirabilis, Freesia sparrmannii, Polystichum incongruum. Graminoid: Schoenoxiphum altum.

Conservation: Least concern. Target 34%. More than half of extant forest enjoys statutory conservation in Garden Route. Virtually all Southern Afrotemperate Forest in Cape Town is conserved in the Table Mountain National Park.

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Historical vegetation cover within the boundaries of Cape Town.

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Historical cover
3 km2
Percentage in Cape Town
Current area in Cape Town
3.0 km2
Conserved/managed in Cape Town
3 km2
Conservation status
LC: Least Concern
Information on Cape Town's vegetation comes from Summarized Descriptions of National Vegetation Types Occurring in the City of Cape Town by Patricia Holmes, Biodiversity Management Branch, July 2008

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