The latest newsletter of the OLCT is now available. Camera trap updates, Our Reserve & Centre Manager, Bioblitz at Haarwegskloof are some of our recent stories.
Renosterveld – one of the most threatened habitats on Earth
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.
As the proverb goes, charity begins at home here in the Overberg, where the OLCT gives you and your business an exclusive opportunity to be part of saving the last remaining fragments of Renosterveld – our own unique rhino veld.
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!
Statistics: Status of Lowland Renosterveld
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.
We are a small NPO dedicated to halting this downward spiral
Did you Know?
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.
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.
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.
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 – 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.
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.
Our little gem is giving away more and more of its precious biodiversity secrets with the latest bioblitz adding more species to the ever growing list.
When I asked Jannie, what is your passion in life and why, his reply was simple. “My passion is the conservation of Renosterveld and all its biodiversity."
How many times have you been looking for that ultimate green Christmas gift for your environmentally or conservation conscious friend...
Zoë Poulsen is one of the first PhD students to build collaboration between the OLCT and the University of Cape...
This week (21st October 2014) during a South African National Biodiversity Institute (SANBI) event in Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden in...
The latest newsletter of the Overberg Lowlands Conservation Trust (OLCT) is now available. First-ever Renosterveld Research & Visitor Centre launched, Visitors to the veld at Haarwegskloof and Black Harriers breeding at Haarwegskloof are some of our recent stories.
As some of you may know, I have recently joint the Overberg Lowland Conservation Trust as a freelance consultant to help Odette with a wide range of jobs and duties.