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     BIOTA Southern Africa Observatory Information Sheet:   Moedverloren 208

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 Observatory No.


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 Alternative name

Moedverloren 208


Vredendal District


 Main research




Pieters, Wynand

 Owner / Institution


 Land tenure


 Precipitation per year


 Observatory (north-west-corner)





Altitude (m)






 Weather data

Daily averages up to this date available

The Biodiversity Observatory is situated in the south-western part of the Knersvlakte, the southern Namaqualand which forms the western Succulent Karoo Biome. The Knersvlakte is characterised by a gently undulated landscape, is underlain by shales, phyllites and limestones of the Nama Group and is streaked by numerous quartz veins. The quartz veins are weathering more slowly than the surrounding softer bedrock like shale or phyllites and the resulting quartz gravel is covering large parts part of the area, forming distinct quartz field islands. More than 65 seed plant species are endemics to quartz fields in the Knersvlakte. They represent a unique flora and vegetation.

The long-term annual rainfall average of the nearest weather station of the South African Weather Bureau in Vredendal is 150 mm with maxima from May to September. Fog from the coastal Benguela Current and dew play an important role for additional water supply for flora and fauna. Mean annual temperature is about 19 °C, frost events are rare and light.

Most parts of the Observatory are characterised by quartz fields. The Observatory is dominated by leaf succulent dwarf shrubs and very rich in plant species among which leaf succulent Aizoaceae and Asteraceae species as well as several monocotyledonous geophytes are most species rich.

The farm Moedverloren has been used until the year 2000 for small stock farming (sheep) and marble mining and turned into a Nature Reserve (CapeNature) since then. The main focus at this site is the effects of land use, the recovery since the land use ceased, as well as the effect of climate change on biodiversity.

The majority of research activities are currently conducted by botanists (annual monitoring of phytodiversity) in close cooperation with CapeNature.

BIOTA Southern Africa
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