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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AUTHORS

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

EDITORIAL INFORMATION

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.