There’s one major wetland on the Black Oystercatcher Farm. But the wetland is particularly special, not least because it’s surrounded by seven types of natural vegetation.
Each plays its role in ensuring the wetland operates as nature intended: that water drains appropriately, so that there’s water, even during dry times (like we’re experiencing right now).
So we’re going to get a touch science-minded, and highlight four of the main vegetation types, and the role they play:
1. Black Acidic Vlei (Extremely Valuable)
The name is pretty telling: the water here is black, thanks to the tannins that have leached out from the fynbos vegetation along the catchment area.
This vegetation type has not been well studied. But we do know it’s threatened by invasive species – which abstract a lot of water here.
2. Restioid Wetland (Extremely Valuable)
This habitat is also quite poorly studied. It’s dominated by restiads like Chondropetalum spp.
Experts highlight the importance of protecting this habitat, especially the sources of water drainage in this vegetation type. It can be easily disturbed, and in some instances has been invaded by rooikrans.
3. Elim Fynbos (Extremely Valuable)
The species richness and endemism is very high in this habitat. It usually occurs at open river valleys.
It’s a dwarf shrubland, home to fewer restios than other fynbos habitats. And expect grasses to flourish here after fire.
4. Elim Acidic Fynbos (Intermediate Value)
This vegetation type is also exceptionally high in terms of species richness, endemism and the number of threatened species.
Elim Acidic Fynbos likes the cool and moist air created by our proximity to the coast (alternatively you would find it on mountain peaks above 1000m).
As members of the Nuwejaars Wetlands Special Management Area, we work according to a management plan that guides our conservation efforts.
So our thanks to the Nuwejaars Wetlands SMA Strategic Biodiversity Management Plan (Author: Richard Davies), for this information.