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Environmental Correlates of Patterns of Species Richness in the South-Western Cape Province of South Africa

H. P. Linder
Journal of Biogeography
Vol. 18, No. 5 (Sep., 1991), pp. 509-518
Published by: Wiley
DOI: 10.2307/2845687
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2845687
Page Count: 10
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Environmental Correlates of Patterns of Species Richness in the South-Western Cape Province of South Africa
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Abstract

The patterns of species richness in the south-western Cape Province, South Africa, at a quarter-degree scale are documented for several plant taxa typical of the Cape flora, i.e. Restionaceae, Ericaceae, Proteaceae, Pentaschistis (Nees) Stapf (Poaceae) and Aspalathus L. (Fabaceae). The patterns of species richness are very similar for all taxa investigated. These patterns are correlated to a range of environmental factors: precipitation, altitude, substratum and vegetation type. It is shown that total precipitation is the best predictor for the patterns of species richness, but that this is to some extent correlated with the range of precipitation and the altitude range. To test for the effect of individual factors, selected samples in which One environment factor varied, were compared. This clearly showed that rainfalls is the best predictor. The number of substrate types, curiously, is not strongly correlated to the patterns of species richness.

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