Avontuur Sustainable Agriculture

Category Archives: Research

Avontuur Nature Reserve: Part of the Great Cederberg Biodiversity Corridor

GCBC seeks to conserve and restore the biodiversity of the Cape Floral Kingdom, covering a vast stretching from the Karoo to the adjacent marine environment of the West Coast, while delivering significant benefits to the people of the region. The Greater Cederberg landscape represents a significant part of the Cape Floral Kingdom, covering a wide range of altitudes and extending across climatic and habitat gradients http://www.cederbergcorridor.org.za/about

Avontuur is situated in the far north of the GCBC planning domain, near the northern tip of the Bokkeveld plateau. Conservation of this unique property contributes significantly to the tapestry of conserved environments in the GCBC, with three vegetation types: Fynbos, Dolerite Renosterveld and Tillite Renosterveld.

GCBC Avontuur map

Amsinckia spp. Eradication Research Experiment on Avontuur

Conducted by EMG team: Areefa Tietis, Cynthia Coetzee, André Van Wyk

Lead researcher Siya Myeza.

Supervised by: Noel Oettle

Start date: 22 September 2014

Amsinckia is an invasive alien herbaceous plant that thrives in disturbed and more fertile areas. It is winter growing and flowers and sets seed in the spring months of August and September, and with the seed maturing in October. Its presence is undesirable because it is invasive and thus displaces indigenous plants, and it is unpalatable for livestock, especially later in the spring when its hairy leaves irritate the mouths of grazing animals. Its thorny seed pods are readily transported and distributed in the wool of sheep.


Amsinckia spp. hand removed by uprooting in one of the plots and left as a mulch. Uprooting is the management strategy generally used in the infested areas, and as a result of the initial findings of the research most uprooted plants were composted in 2015.

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Research opportunities on Avontuur

Avontuur has been the site of some exciting research in the past years on subjects as diverse as solitary bees, soil erosion and Black Harriers. We are willing to collaborate with students and senior researchers. Our soils are the most under-researched part of the environment, and if your research interest relates to soils crusts or earthworms, please let us know. For all research-related queries please contact Noel Oettle dryland@global.co.za.