The province is also home to more than two-thirds, at least 1 700 species, of SA’s threatened plant species. In addition, although occupying only about 11% of South Africa’s land area, the Western Cape boasts with more than half of the country’s biodiversity.
Despite the impressive diversity of plant life that can be found there, the Western Cape, and the Cape Town region in particular, is regarded as the “extinction capital of the world” with the region losing species several hundred times faster than the natural rate of extinction, said CapeNature’s Gavin Maneveldt of the Department of Biodiversity and Conservation Biology at the University of the Western Cape.
Causes include permanent habitat loss due to urban expansion, infrastructure development and agricultural expansion; the displacement of indigenous species by invasive alien plant species; and habitat degradation through overgrazing and inappropriate fire frequencies and intensities,
Maneveldt was quoted in a statement released by the organisers of the Cape Floral Kingdom Expo as saying that, on a per area basis, the Western Cape had the highest concentration of plant species in the world
The province is also home to almost 80% of the surface area of the Cape Floral Kingdom, the smallest of the six recognised floral kingdoms of the world.
The second Cape Floral Kingdom Expo, the biggest indoor fynbos expo in the world, which will take place from 28 to 31 August at Mega Park in Bredasdorp, will focus on conservation of this rich biodiversity gem.
According to the organisers, more than 1 000 different fynbos species and an array of other wildflowers from the region will be on display.
For more information about the Expo go to www.capefloralkingdom.co.za.