Did you Know?

Fynbos

At the southern tip of Africa lies the Cape Floral Kingdom - the smallest, yet richest plant kingdom in the world, most renowned for its beautiful Fynbos with its Proteas. A component is known as Renosterveld, named after the Rhino (Renoster in Afrikaans) that used to roam the region.

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Renosterveld

Renosterveld is the richest bulb habitat on Earth, displaying a spectacular bloom over the spring season. Not only does this system comprise a wealth of plant species beyond one’s wildest imagination, it is also home to a diversity of mammals, reptiles, insects, amphibians, and birds.

Aristaea teretifolia (gallery)

Neglected

Our more showy Fynbos habitats have been afforded much protection, while our lowland Renosterveld has been overlooked and largely neglected – despite it being renowned for its incredible spring flower displays, extraordinary high levels of biodiversity and endemism.

Ploughed watercourse (1024x683)

Endangered

Unlike Fynbos, which grows on poor sandy soils, Renosterveld is found on more fertile soils, and has been developed for agriculture to such an extent that less than 5% remains today. This unique habitat is in itself a biodiversity hotspot, but is teetering on the brink of extinction.

renosterveld_story

We are a small NPO dedicated to halting this downward spiral

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Renosterveld – The Story

Around 300 years ago, when European settlers started moving into the region, the Overberg lowlands were teaming with large game, like Black Rhino, Bontebok, Eland and the now extinct Bluebuck and Quagga. Unfortunately, these lowlands were most suitable for agriculture and over time 95% of these habitats have been converted to cash crops and wildlife replaced with livestock.

 What is left of Renosterveld habitat today is rather different from that before large-scale agricultural development. It was probably a far more grassy system with an even higher diversity of shrubs and bulbs. Sadly, the replacement of large game with small, selective feeders, such as cattle and sheep, combined with years of mismanagement, has severely degraded this ecosystem and is often dominated by ‘unwanted’ shrubs, such as Renosterbos.

 Renosterveld is now highly fragmented with the smallest remnants is little as one square meter. The Overberg contains some of the largest and most intact Renosterveld remnants, consisting of four different vegetation types, all Critically Endangered. Almost all Renosterveld remnants occur on privately-owned land, creating an additional challenge.

 All these factors, coupled with the large range of endemic and threatened plants and animal species inhabiting this bio-hotspot, makes this unique rhino veld one of the most threatened habitats on Earth and putting it in urgent need of conservation attention.

What we do

Working with Farmers to Save Renosterveld

The Overberg Lowlands Conservation Trust is uniquely positioned to bring landowners, communities, wildlife agencies, and NGOs together to conserve the last remnants of Lowland Renosterveld in several strategic locations. We help farmers a.o. with the management of their valuable veld more appropriately.

  • Part of Cape Floral Kingdom

    The Cape Floral Kingdom is the smallest, yet richest Plant Kingdom on Earth. A system recognized as one of the World’s seven Biodiversity Hotspots.

  • Richest Bulb Habitat in the World

    Lowland Renosterveld is a highly diverse vegetation type, most renowned for its spectacular Spring (August/September) flower displays.

  • Remaining Lowland Renosterveld

    Renosterveld once covered most of the Lowlands of the Overberg, but due to its fertile soils it is now highly transformed for agriculture.

  • Red Data Status

    All four Overberg Lowland Renosterveld vegetation types are Critically Endangered.

Latest News

Renosterveld Facts

The Overberg contains some of the largest and most intact Renosterveld remnants, consisting of four different vegetation types, namely Central Rûens Shale, Eastern Rûens Shale, Western Rûens Shale, and Rûens Silcrete Renosterveld. All four are Critically Endangered.

Renosterveld is now highly fragmented with fewer than 50 fragments being over 100 ha in size. Almost all Renosterveld remnants occur on privately-owned land, creating an additional challenge for conservation. All these factors, coupled with the large range of endemic and threatened plants and animals inhabiting this bio-hotspot, makes this unique rhino veld one of the most threatened habitats on Earth and putting it in urgent need of conservation attention.

What is left of Renosterveld habitat today is rather different from that before large-scale agricultural development Sadly, the replacement of large game with small, selective feeders, such as cattle and sheep, combined with years of mismanagement, has severely degraded this ecosystem.  Because of this, Renosterveld is often dominated by ‘uninteresting’ shrubs, such as Renosterbos, giving it the unfortunate grey appearance and hence the impression of a homogeneous, drab vegetation type. If only more people were to experience the treasures hidden in this rich and diverse habitat!

We need your help! Sponsor a Petal is your way of personally helping the OLCT to conserve the Critically Endangered Renosterveld ecosystems. Many of the Renosterveld plant species are not only rare and endangered, but also have high levels of endemism. This means that many only occur in very small geographical areas within the Overberg, e.g. a species might be limited to a single quartz outcrop on one particular farm or grow only on north-facing slopes in the Napier area.

This is where you can help!

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Statistics: Status of Lowland Renosterveld

Lowland Renosterveld lost 95%
Remaining fragments – Unprotected 99%
Remaining fragments < 80 ha 99%

Launch of the Renosterveld Research & Visitor Centre

On the 6th September 2014 The Overberg Lowlands Conservation Trust took great pleasure in the opening of the world’s first and only Renosterveld Research & Visitor Centre located at Haagwegskloof Renosterveld Reserve!

Mazda
Hans Holheisen
FFI
Sijnn
BotSoc