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04 April 2024 Media Release: Future prospects of Garden Route Fynbos uncertain

Media Release: Future prospects of Garden Route Fynbos uncertain

For immediate release
04 April 2024

Conservationists and environmental management entities in the Garden Route share concern on the dual effect of climate change, expanding agricultural practices and rapid development on what remains of the region’s Fynbos species which are on the Red List of Terrestrial Ecosystems (Government Notice 2747).  “These species are critically endangered and unlikely to survive, given their limited prospects in isolation and all present threats,” says Cobus Meiring of the Garden Route Environmental Forum (GREF).

The 2017 Knysna wild-fire disaster was a wake-up call for conservationists and land-owners alike with fears that complete critically endangered eco-systems potentially could have been obliterated by the inferno, combined with the ever-present threat posed by fast-growing invasive alien plants.  Substantial seed bases are sprouting rapidly and completely taking over areas previously covered by Fynbos after the fire.

Despite the odds, there is still hope for the survival of Fynbos species in the Garden Route with the cooperation of state and private landowners, and dedicated conservationists and botanists from state and non-state entities e.g. SANParks, Cape Nature, Botanical Societies, private conservancies and entities such as CREW (Custodians of Rare and Endangered Wildflowers) and George-based Outramps who regularly undertake efforts to find and document the presence of Fynbos LTRE systems in the Garden Route.

The natural wonders of the Garden Route is exactly what makes the region so special in global terms of its beauty and biodiversity. It is imperative that all those living in the region do their utmost in efforts to create more space for natural assets and all life it sustains to be able to survive and prosper well into the future.

Landowners are encouraged to make an effort to take note of and appreciate what kind of Red List and all other Fynbos species are present on their land and, where at all possible, protect them and possibly enlarge their footprint by removing invasive alien plant growth. Landowners are also encouraged to take proactive measures to prevent a repeat of the 2017 and 2018 regional wildfire disasters, because failure to do so can only accelerate the demise of one of the world’s most precious natural assets.

GREF and SCLI are public platforms for conservation and environmental management entities in Garden Route

Feature Image: Christine Ridge- Schnaufer (Outramps)