The Cape Flats Sand Fynbos Project

Through the Cape Flats Sand Fynbos Challenge, Communitree’s mission is to contribute to the conservation of the Cape Flats Sand Fynbos vegetation type. Cape Flats Sand Fynbos (CFSF) is a critically endangered vegetation type, and occurs nowhere in the world but Cape Town! But because of development in a sprawled manner, there is no longer enough Cape Flats Sand Fynbos to conserve in a traditional way of creating a conservation area. It used to cover more than 500 square kilometers of the Cape Flats between the mountain ranges on either side of the Cape Flats, but now 85% is transformed and only 5 square kilometers are formally conserved. We continue to lose the remaining biodiversity from poor agricultural practices, urbanisation, and environmental degradation from invasive alien weeds, inappropriate fire and dumping. It is not possible to meet the target of 30% conservation through traditional means because the vegetation has already been transformed into urban development, so its time to try something new. Hence, the Cape Flats Sand Fynbos Challenge to spark interest and awareness in community conservation.

The two major aims of this challenge are a) to increase the number of patches/areas covered with Fynbos by encouraging inspired gardeners to adopt and help restore Fynbos to fragments in their community, otherwised abandoned and problematic areas and b) to connect the individual patches with insect plant species, through the Insect Corridor Challenge. Everything we do we aim to help build a relationship between between people and their natural heritage so naturally that is part of the aim of this project too.

It used to be taken for granted that to conserve the largest most connected patch of indigenous vegetation is the best approach to site priotity selection, however, a growing body of research has revealed that smaller site or patches cannot be disregarded because without the small sites, many key species would fall outside of conservation protection the world over. So it is key to take small conservation sites seriously, and working on connecting those sites to other patches of indigenous vegetation.

Duration and coverage

It is estimated that the challenge will go for at least 3 years. Ideally 7 workshops annually should suffice for different stages of training and planting. Ultimately Communtree goal is to have 200 sites (small, varied patches) towards the end of the third year.


Initially Commintree will set up a website. On this site individuals, schools and any organisations interested will register a patch, decide from the advised species which ones they would like to grow. Registered members would attend beginners workshops until they are able to transplant fully matured seedling into the conversation sites. They will also learn to monitor birds and insects on the relevant sites. The idea is to create groups that are self-sustainable. Communitree does not intends to be running all the sites, but rather aims to introduce individuals to these efforts with the hope that they will invite other communities and more people can join the urban greening community. Furthermore self-sustainability means surplus plants will be sold to fund further patch developments.

Summary of activities that will be involved:

  • Propagating pioneering plants
  • Workshops
  • Insect monitoring
  • Weeding
  • Corridor planning (through pioneer planning)

Cape Flats Sand Fynbos and nectar-rich (Iingcungcu)

Species Notes
Albuca juncifolia Easy to grow
Erica mammosa
Erica verticillata Easy to grow
Lachenalia reflexa Easy to grow
Leucospermum conocarpodendron
Protea burchellii
Protea repens Easy to grow
Salvia lanceolata
Watsonia meriana

Cape Flats Sand Fynbos medicinal

Species Notes
Aristea africana
Carpobrotus edulis Easy to grow
Morella quercifolia
Osteospermum moniliferum Easy to grow
Pelargonium betulinum Easy to grow
Pelargonium capitatum Easy to grow
Pelargonium cucullatum Easy to grow
Protea repens Easy to grow
Zantedeschia aethiopica

Cape Flats Sand Fynbos Endemics

Some plant species that are endemic to this vegetation type include:


Species Notes

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