Rare plant monitoring at Waterval Nature Reserve

30 Nov 2021

Waterval Nature Reserve is located close to Tulbagh and the name reflects on the spectacular waterfalls both on and off the reserve. Waterval Nature Reserve is home to an incredible variety of special plant species, one of which is the Critically Endangered Sorocephalus imbricatus. One of the populations is very heavily overgrown with Pinus pinaster. The pine infestation poses a serious problem to the long-term survival of the Critically Endangered species as well as other indigenous vegetation. A field visit by staff of CapeNature and SANBI (including horticulture staff, as well as members of CREW and the Millennium Seed Bank [MSB]) was conducted in October 2021 with the aim to come up with some measures in support of the prolonged conservation of this species.

The team monitored the status of populations of S. imbricatus (image 1). In addition, an experiment in hand-pollination was carried out where several plants were pollinated while other plants were identified to form part of a control group (image 2). Various cuttings were collected for propagation trials at Kirstenbosch. There is no information on any successful growing experiments on Sorocephalus species and thus the outcome of these trials will be highly informative.

Seeds of various plant species at Waterval Nature Reserve were collected for seed banking (image 3). SANBI signed a contract with the MSB at Kew Gardens in 2000, but is currently planning to build a seed bank facility for South Africa at Kirstenbosch. The MSB has provided a list of species that are banked. All species that are not on the current list, are being regarded as target species for seed collection and seed banking. Seeds collected are being prepared by the MSB for long-term storage. Until such time as the South African seed bank facility has been completed, seeds are being sent in batches to KEW MSB every few years.

The uniqueness of various plant species at Waterval Nature Reserve adds to the biodiversity importance of this reserve. CapeNature staff will continue to monitor some of the special plant species populations with a view to guaranteeing the long-term conservation of these important plants.


Related News

22 Nov 2023
Responsible Angling ensures a Sustainable Future for both the Environment and the Communities that rely on these Resources

The Western Cape is home to an array of freshwater habitats, from serene mountain streams to picturesque dams. Whether you're a seasoned angler or a novice looking to cast your first line, understanding the regulations, and acquiring the necessary permits is crucial for an enjoyable and sustainable fishing experience. Before embarking on your freshwater fishing adventure, it's essential to comprehend the significance of obtaining a permit.

Cape Vulture De Hoop 2016 09 14 2
8 Nov 2023 by Kallyn Gunkel
Guardians of the Sky: Cape Vultures in South Africa's Potberg Mountains

The Cape vultures of the Potberg Mountains are not just ecological linchpins but also cultural symbols in parts of southern Africa. CapeNature has been dedicated to the conservation and monitoring of these majestic birds for many years within CapeNature's De Hoop Nature Reserve, where the Potberg Mountains provide vital breeding habitat for the only population of Cape vultures in the Western Cape.

Caracal caught in a fence line snare Andrée Bonthuys
1 Nov 2023
Collaborative Snare Free Initiative Proves Its Worth

Three months ago, on 1 August, leading conservation, animal welfare and volunteer organisations in the Western Cape joined forces to launch Snare Free – a multi-component initiative aimed at providing a coordinated response to snared wildlife incidents in the province. A lot has happened since!

Whats App Image 2023 07 24 at 1 48 31 PM
29 Sep 2023
Cape Zebra Reunites With Family

On July 22, 2023, the CapeNature team from Kammanassie Nature Reserve carried out a critical rescue mission involving a Cape Mountain Zebra (CMZ) on the Diepprivier farm property in the Noll area, situated approximately 30 kilometers from Kammanassie.

Whats App Image 2023 09 28 at 13 14 51
29 Sep 2023
CapeNature and a Community Rally to Save More Than a Thousand Seahorses

CapeNature’s marine rangers led a herculean effort with the support of the community and up to now more than a thousand seahorses were rescued and 720 have been returned to their natural habitat. They are being put back into the estuaries where they usually occur and where there is a huge eelgrass bed where they seek refuge and shelter and where they find their food.

21 Sep 2023 by Kallyn Gunkel and Martine Jordaan
Monitoring of Critically Endangered Geometric Tortoise

The geometric tortoise (Psammobates geometricus), classified as Critically Endangered, ranks among the top 25 most imperilled tortoises and turtles globally. Its future remains uncertain, with an estimated wild population of fewer than 3000. This species is highly specialised in its habitat requirements, historically found in the low-lying renosterveld shrublands of the Swartland, Upper Breede River Valley, and Ceres Valley.