Destruction of natural habitats
The land of the "fine-leaved plants", the South African Fynbos, is one of the world’s most impressive botanical kingdoms - a mind-boggling variety of plants that is richer than any other comparable sized area in Africa. An estimated 8,500 species of vascular plants, of which 70% are endemic (they are found nowhere else in the world), are reported here.
But because the area has been heavily settled for several centuries, large swathes of natural vegetation, particularly in the lowlands, have been cleared for agriculture and urban development.
Similar problems face the Namib-Karoo-Kaokeveld desert, a very distinctive and floristically rich ecoregion with highly diverse endemic plant communities. Here, poor land management, conversion of marginal lands for cultivation, dam construction, mining, and illegal extraction of selected succulents for black market trade, pose a suite of threats.