Fynbos extinctions

I was recently asked the question: How many plants have gone extinct in the fynbos? As I did not have the answer, I had a look at SANBI’s threatened species program on their website .  While there is no extinction data available specifically for fynbos, the figure for the Western Cape Province is given as 22 known plant extinctions (and there could be quite a few more that were lost without ever having been recorded and identified) and it can be assumed that most of these are fynbos species. This is considerably higher than for any of the other provinces, with a total of 11 further extinctions known for the rest of the country. Sandveld potato farming impacts on www.fynboshub.oc.za

The latest Red list of South African plants describes no fewer than 3144 plant taxa of conservation concern in the fynbos. Nearly one quarter of South Africa’s indigenous flora is considered either threatened with extinction or of conservation concern. The three major threats are habitat loss, invasive alien plants and habitat degradation.The Western Cape is home to a remarkable 51% of the countries plant species and unfortunately some 65% of our threatened flora. The Cape flora is under considerable threat from human activities and despite many excellent conservation initiatives there are likely to be further extinctions over the coming decades.

source: SANBI. 2011. Statistics: Red List of South African Plants version 2011.1.

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