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Stellenbosch University Botanical garden starts construction on unique habitat conservation displays
Author: Donovan Kirkwood
Published: 05/10/2021

Stellenbosch University Botanical Garden, with the support of The Table Mountain Fund, has begun construction of a unique new display. This will showcase 4 threatened lowland habitats from the Cape Floristic Region. These habitats are local and amongst the most threatened  in South Africa. The main past and future risk to all these ecosystem types is habitat loss due to agricultural and urban expansion. All of them are already highly fragmented. While between 15-35% of the original extent might remain, far less is in a functional ecological condition capable of supporting their many locally occurring and threatened species. Almost none of these threatened Cape lowland habitats are under formal protection. We want to help you fall in love with the plants and habitats that make this part of the world spectacularly biodiverse and special, and empower you to contribute to the protection and care of our underappreciated Cape natural areas.

​Our Landscape Architect intern Katy Rennie, who also happens to have geology and applied biology degrees, has done the design work and lead project management. Each raised bed is to be constructed of the rock of the source habitats, patterned to display typical geological layering, faulting and formation by local master masons, Stone Age Construction. This not only adds deeper understanding of our complex ecosystems, but will support practical teaching in the Stellenbosch University Earth Sciences Department. Some planting will happen right away, but will continue during 2022 and into 2023.