Biodiversity Value

Milnerton Racecourse Section

Biodiversity Value

MilnertonCA-02During the 1980’s scientists first realized that Milnerton Racecourse was botanically a very important site. Whereas much of the fynbos in this coastal area had disappeared under developments or as result of the invasion of alien vegetation, the fynbos within the confines of the racecourse was still relatively untouched.

What makes it relatively unique is that it has an unusual geology consisting of neutral to slightly acidic sand on ferricrete. This results in Cape Flats Sand Fynbos with elements of West Coast Strandveld with exceptionally high diversity relative to the size of the conservation area. It is one of the last natural habitats situated on ferricretes, this substrate type is fairly localised (hence the name Ysterplaat), but has been largely built over.

Biodiversity Value Continued…

MilnertonCA-03There are 232 recorded plant species in the TBNR:MR; of these 12 have “Red Data” status including Cliffortia ericifolia, Hermannia procumbens ssp. procumbens, Leucadendron levisanus, Acrolophia bolusii and Lampranthus stenus (largest known population).Milnerton Racecourse represents the greatest number of succulents (Mesembryanthemaceae and Aizoaceae) per unit area for any remnant of similar size on the Cape Flats or Peninsula.

MilnertonCA-04Compare this to Rietvlei where there are about 90 plant species (in a reserve of more than 560ha), with no threatened species recorded. Another interesting fact is that only 42 of the 232 species found in the TBNR:MR also occur in the Rietvlei Wetland Reserve. This area is more comparable to Rondebosch Common where 230 plant species have been found on 60ha, of which 3 are threatened species.

MilnertonCA-08There are also two small wetlands in the area – one just south of Sandown Crescent in the southern area and one adjacent to The Met in the northern area; during winter several more small temporary wetlands develop. All of this provides a wonderful habitat for a variety of bird life, more than 110 species have been recorded. Thus far at least 10 species of butterflies and moths have been recorded. There used to be a small population of steenbok in the area, but they seem to have disappeared; there are a number of grysbok in both northern and southern areas.

Species List for MRNR

A list of all species of plants and animals recorded in the reserve is on the South African Biodiversity Database. Click on the link below, then move down in the list of sites to Milnerton Racecourse Nature Reserve, click the “Select Site” button, under “Site Species List” on the top menu you can view the recorded data. Use the drop-down lists to select the group you wish to view.

» South African Biodiversity Database

Information about the TBNR:MR is sourced from a poster authored by Jeremy Keyser and Mandy Noffke of Planning in Balance (now Wetland Solutions) and presented at the Fynbos Forum 2007; additional information by Niel van Wyk. All pictures of fauna and flora on these pages were taken in the Milnerton Racecourse Nature Reserve by Jeremy Keyser.