mutinondo

   
Woodland restoration

Restoring natural
vegetation -
30 years’ experience on an 8 hectare Lusaka smallholding.

A garden of indigenous trees has always had a strong appeal to me. Our move to a 20-acre smallholding on the southeastern outskirts of Lusaka in 1983 gave me the opportunity to indulge my passion to grow the trees I found on trips around Zambia. Two years earlier I had decided not to renew my contract with the Ministry of Agriculture, where I held the position of Conservation Biologist in the Land Use Services Division, in order to earn my living as a small scale farmer. In 1977, my wife Trish, with a small group of friends, established a marketing cooperative (Maluwa)producing cut flowers and a variety of farm produce.

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Orchids of Protea Hill Farm - Observations over 30 years

Part 1: Introduction.
I first started keeping records of the orchids in the 1985-’86 season, the third after we took up residence at Protea Hill in July 1983. The terrestrial, or ‘Ground Orchids’, bloom and set seed during the months of the rainy season, November to March, the plants drying off soon after the last rain. There are no annual orchids – all terrestrial orchids produce perennating organs – tubers or pseudobulbs – to tide them over the long dry season. In the literature the habitats of terrestrial orchids are usually described as woodland or grassland. These terms don’t match the actual conditions to which the orchids are adapted. From the point of view of the orchid plant woodland means partial shade and leaf litter covering the soil surface, while grassland means full sunshine, frequent hot burns and bare soil between grass tufts. But as we shall see both definitions are over simplifications.

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Part 2: The grassland species.
The list of orchid species recorded in the 1985-’86 season, consisted almost exclusively of grassland orchids, and the first two chapters of our story is devoted to these.
Recorded in the 1985-’86 season were:
                Brachycorythis tenuior
                Disa welwitschii / roeperocharoides
                Eulophia cucullata
                Habenaria macrura
                Habenaria njamnjamica
                Habenaria sochensis
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Part 3: The shrubland species.
You may not find ‘shrubland’ in any ecology textbook, but I have introduced the term here to signify a habitat that is neither grassland nor woodland, but something in between. It is an ecotone, where two adjacent vegetation types overlap. Ecotones frequently have more species than the two component types combined.
The shrubland orchids at Protea Hill comprise:
                Eulophia cucullata
                Eulophia clitellifera
                Habenaria cirrhata
                Liparis nervosa
                Nervilia adolphii
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Part 4: The woodland species.
During a period of 40 years without fire, areas of wooded grassland were transformed into closed canopy woodland. The canopy trees are woodland species, but the ground cover varies from leaf litter, to forest flora, flimsy annual grasses (Setaria homonyma and Oplimenus burmannii) or Acanthaceous subshrubs (Asystasia gangetica, Justicia betonica). In natural circumstances this combination is only found in rocky terrain and at dambo margins, where a discontinuous grass cover excludes fire.
Orchids of this habitat:
                Liparis nervosa
                Disperis anthoceros
                Disperis katangensis
                Eulophia fridericii
                Eulophia guineensis
                Habenaria malacophylla
                Habenaria subarmata
                Nervilia adolphii
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Habenaria sochensis
Habenaria sochensis


Satyrium carsonii
Satyrium carsonii


Eulophia cucullata
Eulophia cucullata


Disperis katangensis
Disperis katangensis


 Updated: 14 April 2014
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