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Title Between a rock and a hard place: sustainable conservation of the Cape Lowlands in the face of fragmentation & invasion

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Short title Sustainable conservation of Cape Lowlands

Author(s) Kongor, R.Y. (1); Sharma, G. P. (1,2); Krug, C.B. (3); Esler, K.J. (1,2); Horn, A. (1)

Presenting author Horn, A.

Institution(s) (1) Department of Conservation Ecology and Entomology, University of Stellenbosch; (2) Centre for Invasion Biology, University of Stellenbosch; (3) Department of Zoology, University of Cape Town

Keywords Cape Flora; habitat fragmentation; alien invasion; plant functional types; habitat connectivity; edge effects; water stress

Abstract The lowlands of the Cape Flora are threatened by both fragmentation and invasion. Especially the Sandplain fynbos shows lower species numbers in small fragments and is predicted to lose further species due to the dominance of reseeders, that are both dispersed over short distances and pollinated by only one vector. Landscape connectivity is likely to be mitigating fragmentation effects. However, connecting corridors or stepping stones could be a mixed blessing, since far-reaching edge effects limit the utility for native species and invasives proliferate in these environments. Once introduced into intact habitats, invasives could eventually out-compete native species, since in addition to other characteristics typical for invasive plants they also seem to suffer less from drought stress.

Congress Topic Interventions

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Notes since this is an integrated poster it would fit in with several topics: observation system, process analysis and interventions

Ref. No. 641