After a fantastic and restful festive season, the Watercourse Restoration Project has charged into 2016 and is on the go...
Renosterveld – one of the most threatened habitats on Earth
Renosterveld is 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, make this unique rhino veld one of the most threatened habitats on Earth and putting it in urgent need of conservation attention.
“I have chosen to be a patron for the Overberg Lowlands Conservation Trust because I see a genuine commitment and an extreme passion for this important cause. Please help the Trust to continue the good work that they are doing to make sure that our natural heritage in South Africa is secured for many many years to come”
FW de Klerk, Patron of the Overberg Lowlands Conservation Trust.
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.
The Overberg Lowland Conservation Trust needs your help in order to help save the Endangered Renosterveld in the Overberg.
Here’s how you can help
Renosterveld Research & Visitor Centre: Now open for visitors and overnight stays
Haarwegskloof Renosterveld Reserve represents the largest protected piece of lowland Renosterveld on Earth. It is owned by WWF-SA and managed by the Overberg Lowlands Conservation Trust. In 2014 we established the first-ever Renosterveld Research and Visitor Centre on the Reserve and it is now open for bookings as a self-catering guesthouse.
for bookings and further info.
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 and extraordinarily 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.
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.
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.
Get the latest Renosterveld News: New Patron, Self-catering Accommodation available at our Renosterveld Visitor & Research Centre and Green Gift ideas.
Last month we were lucky enough to receive a visit from lichen expert Professor Volkmar Wirth from Germany. Prof Wirth opened our eyes to the extraordinary diversity of lichen species to be found within the reserve, finding about 30 species in a relatively short space of time.
The Watercourse Restoration Project is in full swing with surveys of priority watercourses within the Overberg wheatbelt. Spectacular renosterveld remnants...
Since the opening of the new research centre at Haarwegskloof the place has been humming with activity, from students to researchers to guests from South Africa and beyond.
Businessman and environmentalist Oren Taylor is no stranger to the Overberg Lowlands Conservation Trust. He is one of our most loyal supporters. Oren first came to prominence ...
Get the latest Renosterveld News: Spring Highlights, Watercourse Restoration Project, Seedbank & Renosterveld Centre News
Spring has sprung in the Overberg. The weather is growing warmer, plants are flowering in the Renosterveld and humming with a diversity of insect pollinators...