I recently become a Trustee of the Overberg Lowlands Conservation Trust – a new conservation trust set up in the Overberg and focused on the conservation of renosterveld and threatened lowland fynbos in the region. This South African charity is setting out to preserve as many of the remaining fragments of one of the rarest vegetation types, with the richest flowering bulb flora, in the world. Only 4-6% of the original extent of renosterveld remains. You can see the map below showing this frightening decline in the area of Overberg renosterveld:
The map on the left shows the original extent of Overberg renosterveld, while the map below shows its remaining area in 2012.
The vast majority of renosterveld has been transformed into wheat lands and almost all remaining is on private land. Its future lies in the hands of individual landowners and how they will care for it. The Trust aims to work with these landowners, as well as authorities, to ensure the long term conservation of these tiny but extremely precious remnants of natural vegetation.
Despite the small size of the remaining area of Overberg renosterveld, new species continue to be found, highlighting the conservation value of every remaining patch. One of these new species that was recently discovered by our Trust Director, Odette Curtis, is a new species of Hesperantha.
Together with Fauna and Flora International, the Trust is auctioning the naming of this new species. This is a great opportunity to have your name, or that of a loved one, immortalized by giving a name of your choice to this newly discovered species of beautiful South African iris. All proceeds of the auction will go to the Overberg Lowlands Conservation Trust and Fauna and Flora International.