Pioneers and Perches—Promising Restoration Methods for Degraded Renosterveld Habitats?

Heelemann, S., C.B. Krug, K.J. Esler, C. Reisch and P. Poschlod

Publication Date:

The study reports on two restoration experiments, designed to re-introduce key plant functional types back into this critically endangered habitat. The first experiment concentrated on a common pioneer species in renosterveld vegetation, Otholobium hirtum. Although in vitro experiments showed a significantly elevated germination response after scarification, in vivo experiments failed to produce establishment in an abandoned field. The second restoration experiment focused on bush clumps, a sub-type of renosterveld vegetation that is characterized by broad-leaved shrubs with fleshy bird-dispersed diaspores. The experiments revealed that restoration using early-succession species and natural dispersal vectors appear not to produce demonstrable benefits, despite their promising potential and pre-testing of effectiveness. Before launching large-scale restoration programs in abandoned fields of renosterveld, preliminary studies in-field are strongly recommended.

Resource Type:
Peer-reviewed Article

Restoration Ecology