Towards a structural-functional classification of fynbos: a comparison of methods

Bothalia: African Biodiversity & Conservation. 1979;12(4):723-729 DOI 10.4102/abc.v12i4.1444


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Journal Title: Bothalia: African Biodiversity & Conservation

ISSN: 0006-8241 (Print); 2311-9284 (Online)

Publisher: AOSIS

Society/Institution: South African National Biodiversity Institute

LCC Subject Category: Science: Natural history (General): General. Including nature conservation, geographical distribution

Country of publisher: South Africa

Language of fulltext: English

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P. Linder (Bolus Herbarium, University of Cape Town)
B. M. Campbell (Botany Department, University of Cape Town)


Double blind peer review

Editorial Board

Instructions for authors

Time From Submission to Publication: 12 weeks


Abstract | Full Text

The need for a classification of the vegetation of the fynbos region is stressed. In the present work we have evaluated some structural-functional approaches that could be used to classify and describe fynbos.  A priori and  a posteriori approaches to classification are reviewed. The a posteriori approach appears to be superior.Test data derived from 21 plots from a range of fynbos types were used to test some methods of collecting and analysing structural-functional information for an  a posteriori  classification. With respect to data collection, no single method was superior. However, a major improvement on our methodology would be possible if the growth-form system used were to be extended. The classifications that were erected were produced by means of computer-based numerical methods. These methods are essential if large data sets are to be analysed. However, the structural-functional classifications produced by numerical methods should only be regarded as working hypotheses; refinement of the classifications should proceed by intuitive methods. We feel that the a posteriori approach, even though it has its problems, will provide a suitable methodology for an ecologically meaningful classification of fynbos vegetation.