UWC: Cape Flats Nature Reserve

Modderdam Road
Cape Town

UWC: Cape Flats Nature Reserve

Floresta/Área Natural PúblicaEducação AmbientalFlorestas/Plantas NativasHabitat Protegido/CultivadoLocal de Pesquisa Científica

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The Cape Flats Nature Reserve signifies the conservation efforts at the University of the Western Cape (UWC) through the department of B.C.B. to preserve a bio-diverse site representing the unique environmental elements that once flourished in the greater surrounding area before urbanisation of that land occurred. The reserve which experiences a microclimate unique to this area is well characterised and has been maintained by various responsible authorities associated with the University for many years. It is also boosted by the recent introduction of endemic plant species to redeveloped sites on the adjacent campus where landscaping is employed to encourage a reclamation of this habitat.

Ever since the advent of European people at the Cape, natural areas on the Cape Flats have come under increasing threats from various sources. Housing, industrialization and agriculture have all taken their toll, whilst in many places woody aliens have displaced the indigenous vegetation.

Furthermore, what is alarming is the poor conservation status of the Cape Flats. Western Cape lowlands overall support the most poorly conserved vegetation type in South Africa. About one percent of the Flats fall within official nature reserves. The long-term survival of most of the remaining natural veld is not guaranteed. Strandveld, for example, is highly threatened by coastal developments and alien invaders and only about 32% of the original vegetation remains with less than 1% conserved in small areas.

The concept of a nature reserve on the University of the Western Cape’s campus originated in the early 1960’s through the keen interest of a group of academics attached to the University. With careful planning the idea reached realization in 1977 with the official proclamation of the Cape Flats Nature Reserve under Section 12(4) of the Nature Conservation Ordinance of 1974. In 1978 the reserve became a National Monument, today known as a Provincial Heritage site.

The Cape Flats Nature Reserve is a private reserve and falls under the administration of the University of the Western Cape. Although the reserve was first created as a refuge for Strandveld and Coastal Fynbos, it now also functions as a base for ecological teaching, environmental education and research.

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