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LOWLAND FYNBOS  |  A Threatened Ecosystem!

What is Fynbos?
Fynbos is the common name for the fine-leafed, thick, shrub-like vegetation which occurs in the winter rainfall area of the souther and south-western parts of the Western Cape. Fynbos consists of three main plant types - ericas with fine leaves and bell-shaped flowers, leafless reed-like restios, and colourful proteas. A variety of bulbous and tuberous plants, legumes and buchu's, as well as renosterbos, slangbos and everlastings are also part of the fynbos.

Fynbos, or the Cape Floral Kingdom, is the smallest of the world's six plant kingdoms, covering only 0.4% of the earth's surface. According to its size it is the most species-rich plant kingdom, boasting 8 600 species, of which 68% occur nowhere else in the world!

A Threatened Plant Kingdom
Our unique fynbos is severly threatened, mainly by agriculture, urban and coastal developments encroachment by alien plants, and untimely veld fires. More than half of the Cape Floral Kingdom has been irrevocably altered, and the remainder is seriously threatened.

Lowland Fynbos - on the Brink of Extinction
Fynbos is confined to the mountains and lowlands of the Western Cape. Lowland fynbos has more grass and annual plant species than mountain fynbos, and only grow on clay and sandy soils, and limestone. Only a third of the original lowland fynbos remains, and of this a quarter is infested with invasive alien plants. Already 41 lowland fynbos species have become extinct, and another 173 species are threatened with exstinction.

Countless animal species will disappear along with fynbos and the habitat which it provides. The precarious conservation status of the endangered geometric tortoise, which only occurs in this vegetation type, is a good example of the close relationship between animals and their habitat.

Conservation
Less than 2% of the original lowland fynbos is conserved in provindial nature reserves and national parks. The rest is on private land. The existence of lowland fynbos is therefore largely dependant on landowners.
 

Landowners can help!

Identify sensitive areas on your property which ought to be conserved.

Have these areas declared as private nature reserves, natural heritage sites or sites of conservation significance. This increases the conservation status of the land.

Establish a conservancy with your neighbours. This shows that you care, without legally binding you.

Identify the threats to the area and implement the necessary step to ensure its existence.

Contact your nearest nature conservation office for advice and help.
 

Follow this link for photographic examples of the exquisite fynbos, or read more (and view the map) about these unique plant kingdom.

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