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Cape fynbos to benefit from global appeal

Posted by: Saving Water SA (Cape Town, South Africa) – partnered with Water Rhapsody conservation systems – 16 Oct 2011

Fauna and Flora International (FFI) a longtime partner of UNESCO’s World Heritage Centre, launched a global appeal this week with the objective of helping protect over 50,000 hectares of the globally unique “fynbos” ecosystem in the Cape Floral region of South Africa. The targeted lands are in the World Heritage site’s buffer areas, contributing to the long term integrity of the Cape Floral Region Protected Areas World Heritage property.

The fynbos is an area where diversity of life on Earth is being generated today

The plant biodiversity of the fynbos is greater than that of the Amazon. Sadly, according to IUCN’s Red List of endangered species, the fynbos biome also contains the highest number of endangered plants in the world, making the conservation of this area vitally important.

Dr Sandra Knapp, Merit Researcher at London’s Natural History Museum said, “For botanists like me, the fynbos area is fascinating. It is the most species-rich habitat on Earth, and is an area where speciation is happening at a rapid rate. This means that the fynbos is an area where diversity of life on Earth is being generated today, making it a key area for the conservation of plant diversity.”

Lazare Eloundou-Assomo, chief of the World Heritage Centre’s Africa unit, adds:  “The inscription of the Cape Floral Regions Protected Areas onto the World Heritage List was a real success story.  The property is comprised of several highly dispersed protected areas and is the result of a tremendous effort on behalf of the South African people to protect a unique, highly vulnerable ecosystem. The additional efforts from FFI of furthering the conservation of the fynbos are much appreciated.”

In 2004, over 550,000 hectares of the Cape Floral Region were inscribed onto the World Heritage List. The appeal launched by Fauna and Flora International hopes to raise sufficient funds to help increase the area of protected and sustainably managed fynbos ecosystem in the region. FFI provides the secretariat services of the Rapid Response Facility for World Heritage sites.

Source: Unesco

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