A study at the Serina Kaolin Mine on the Cape Peninsula in Granite Fynbos

ReStory narrator: Patricia Holmes

Here is an earlier study at the Serina Kaolin Mine on the Cape Peninsula in Granite Fynbos that was invaded by dense aliens (pine, hakea, wattle) for >25 years. The published study is Holmes PM. 2001. Shrubland Restoration Following Woody Alien Invasion and Mining: Effects of Topsoil Depth, Seed Source, and Fertilizer Addition. Restoration Ecology 9:71-84.

I studied ecological restoration at a densely alien-invaded Fynbos site to investigate how best to restore the site after proposed mining operations. Alien trees were bulldozed off site and topsoil stripped to simulate mining before being replaced at different depths. A Fynbos seed mix was sown on half the plots in autumn. Deeper topsoil gave the best results and many indigenous species emerged from the long-lived soil-stored seed bank. Vegetation structure was improved in the sowing treatment which returned guilds, such as proteoid overstorey species, that do not have soil-stored seeds.

Alien stand pre-clearance
Topsoiled control, showing mainly ericoid shrubs and graminoids
Topsoiled, sown plot, showing improved structure with proteoid elements established