Featherbed Conservation

The 85 hectare Featherbed Nature Reserve protects two main vegetation types:

  • Albany thicket - a small area of the reserve is covered by this coastal forest type that’s characterised by hardwood trees like milkwood (Sideroxylon inerme) and candlewood (Pterocelastrus tricuspidatus)
  • Knysna sand fynbos* - Featherbed has a significant stand of Knysna sand fynbos, which is a sub-region of the Cape macchia (or Cape heathland) that defines the Cape Floristic Kingdom.*

Our conservation priorities at Featherbed include:

  • Protecting the biodiversity of the natural habitat on the reserve;
  • Sharing our knowledge of biodiversity with our guests;
  • Controlling invasive alien plants that threaten the biodiversity of the reserve, strain our limited fresh-water resources, and pose a significant risk of uncontrollable bush (veld) fires. Our control measures include physically removing alien plants, as well support for biological control programmes like the release by the Biocontrol Research Programme of UCT’s Plant Conservation Unit of a gall midge (Dasineura dielsii) that has established itself in our region, and which now successfully prevents the invasive rooikrans trees (Acacia cyclops) from reproducing;
  • Cooperating with our neighbours who share our conservation priorities - including SANParks, which manages the Knysna Estuary as part of the Garden Route National Park;
  • Cataloguing the plants, birds, insects, and other biota on the reserve (see Featherbed Nature Reserve on iNaturalist.com).

Rehabilitation of the natural vegetation after the Knysna Fires of 2017

The 2017 Knysna Fires - which destroyed almost 20,000 hectares of fynbos, forest, farmland, and residential areas in the Garden Route - burned more than 95% of the vegetation at Featherbed literally to ashes. Except for a small portion of forest on the reserve, the land was left almost bare, and our restaurant and other facilities were completely destroyed.

  • Read about our post-fire rehabilitation project here.
  • Play your part! Read about our Biochar Seedballs project here.

Our catalogue of life on the reserve

  • Please visit Featherbed on iNaturalist.com to see images of our latest observations of the plants, birds, insects, and other life-forms at Featherbed.

Notes:

  • Cape Floristic Kingdom: In phytogeography - the study of ‘the geographic distribution of plant species and their influence on the earth's surface’ (Wikipedia), the world is divided into six Floristic Kingdoms or geographic areas that each exhibit a ‘relatively uniform composition of plant species’ (Wikipedia). The Cape Floristic Kingdom is the smallest of these regions, and the only one that’s contained within the borders of a single country. It includes the coastal areas of the Cape Provinces - from about Vanrhynsdorp on the West Coast, to about Grahamstown in the Eastern Cape.
  • Knysna sand fynbos: a patchwork of land within the Garden Route - specifically on the coast between Wilderness and Knysna - that’s characterised by a loosely-defined community of various species of plant. The Knysna sand fynbos is considered critically endangered as a result of development and habitat destruction, and only about 1,600 hectares have survived.

 

Featherbed Co.

Remembrance Drive
off Waterfront Drive
Knysna

Postal Address:
PO Box 753
Knysna
6570

Tel: +27 (0)44 382-1693
Fax: +27 (0)44 382-2373
E-mail: bookings@featherbed.co.za