Jonkershoek Valley - South Africa
Highly artificial coniferous plantations
Temperate and mediterranean-montane scrub
The Jonkershoek Valley site is located in a mountain catchment in the Cape Floristic Region and is the source of the Eerste River. The site was originally dominated by Boland Granite fynbos and Kogelberg Sandstone fynbos with patches of afrotemperate forest. From the 1930s, first order catchment experiments were established in the valley by the Jonkershoek Forestry Research Centre (JFRC) under the auspices of the South African Forestry Research Institute (SAFRI). The catchments were sequentially planted to pine species. Gauged weirs were built in the experimental catchments. Long term records exist for five gauged pine planted catchments and one natural fynbos catchment. The Swartboskloof catchment, located in the Jonkershoek valley, was the site of fire experiments in the 1970s and 80s.
General Characteristics, Purpose, History
The research station was originally established to investigate the impact of afforestation on climate, water conservation and soil erosion. Streamflow, water quality, rainfall and weather parameters were/are collected from a number of stations. Approximately 700 ha have been afforested. Subsequent research at the site has investigated the ecology of fire in fynbos ecosystems. Results from this research have informed the establishment of Working for Water, aimed at removing invasive alien vegetation from South African catchments, and fire management policy. Currently observation activities at the site under SAEON continue to monitor long-term weather patterns with a view to detecting and understanding climate change and its impact on water delivery and the impact of afforestation on streamflow.
Prior to the establishment of a research station in 1935, the land was agricultural with livestock grazing on natural vegetation. The first monitoring took place with the establishment of a rain gauge in 1925. The land was leased from the Stellenbosch Municipality for the establishment of the Jonkershoek Forestry Research Station in 1935. The research station was set up to investigate the effects of afforestation on water conservation and rainfall. The catchment experiments continued to be maintained by the Jonkershoek Forestry Research Centre (under the South African Forestry Research Institute) and later the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) until 1994. Subsequent to that date the CSIR maintained a low level of oversight constrained by much reduced funding until SAEON took over responsibility for the monitoring array in 2009. SAEON has refurbished and extended the monitoring equipment. Agreements between the CSIR and SAEON have resulted in the migration of historical data to SAEON's data repositories
Affiliation and Network Specific Information