Over the past few month’s Flower Valley was visited by a few Universities to explore our unique fynbos systems. 

The following is interesting research done on Flower Valley Farm. 

Multispectral Imagery

Colin Geel (surveyor) and Dr. Kevin Musungu (Cape Peninsula University of Technology: CPUT) tested multispectral imagery for future spatial analysis research on Flower Valley Farm. This means that images taken from the drone are able to see a different perspective than what is possible with the human eye. Some images can enhance our understanding of alien invasive biomass, agricultural pest, water availability, soils types or different plant species. Flower Valley looks forward to seeing how this advanced technology could be applied within the conservation landscape.

Pollin Traps

Flower Valley also had a visit from postdoc Nadia du Plessis (Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University: NMMU), who is investigating different types of pollen from fynbos species in limestone soils. She set-up some pollen traps on Flower Valley farm. The pollen trapped will be used to compare fynbos species found currently, to species found historically in the area based on soil core samples. Soil core samples keep a pollen record over time, similar to tree rings, and the deeper the core, the further back in time it represents. Using this record researchers can compare how fynbos looked in the past, based on the present.

Lauren Searle and Matthew Farquharson, two fourth year students from the Conservation Ecology Class at Stellenbosch University, completed their field work at Flower Valley farm early this year for their end of year project.

Alien Invasives

Lauren is looking at the “Efficiency of drone-technology versus ground-based methodologies for evaluating the density and distribution of invasive alien vegetation”. This can potentially offer an alternative to the current field-based approach for measuring alien densities, and provide imagery for long term monitoring of restoration efforts in the alien clearing project.

 

Aquatic diversity

Matthew’s project is comparing the natural versus invasive riparian habitats in farm dams and how this impacts invertebrate diversity. Invertebrate diversity is closely linked to water quality. These results can inform management decisions on water quality, based on the type of vegetation surrounding farm dams. 

It will be exciting to hear more about their findings at the end of the year.