Original Research

Characterisation of the woody assemblages of Zululand coastal thornveld along the Nseleni river

Jannie P. van der Linden, Frances Siebert, Stefan J. Siebert, Daan P. Ferreira, George J. Bredekamp
Koedoe | Vol 50, No 1 | a216 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/koedoe.v50i1.216 | © 2008 Jannie P. van der Linden, Frances Siebert, Stefan J. Siebert, Daan P. Ferreira, George J. Bredekamp | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 08 July 2008 | Published: 11 December 2008

About the author(s)

Jannie P. van der Linden, University of Zululand, South Africa
Frances Siebert, North-West University, South Africa
Stefan J. Siebert, North-West University, South Africa
Daan P. Ferreira, University of Zululand, South Africa
George J. Bredekamp, University of Pretoria, South Africa

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Abstract

A classification of the woody component of the riparian vegetation of Zululand coastal thornveld is analysed using the height classes of different woody species as an indication of age. A total of 43 randomly stratified plots was selected using aerial photographs to include all the different plant communities in this rare and endemic vegetation type. A floristic survey of the woody component was conducted within each sample plot. Species data recorded included tree cover and tree richness. Environmental data recorded included altitude, soil type, soil chemistry, aspect and slope. The data set was analysed with TWINSPAN and four woody-plant assemblages were identified. An ordination using CANOCO was applied to examine the relationships between species distribution and associated environmental gradients. Changes in the species composition of woody assemblages occurred along an environmental gradient determined by soil properties and past land use.

Keywords

bush encroachment; forest; grassland; height classes; savanna

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