9. plant poachers caught in South Africa

Gail A. Klein gklein1@stanford.edu
Thu, 06 Aug 2015 18:56:18 PDT
Africa Geographic is very timely on this sort of thing, viz really on the ‘lion-killing dentist’ late last month.

South Africa’s extreme floral diversity attracts all kinds of predators who Illegally harvest rare plant species!
 Cycad thieves may be the worst. Unfortunately, not only does the Knersvlakte region have the highest diversity of succulents in the world, but it’s isolated. What is worse, the succulents (and endemic geophytes) are also threatened by small scale mining and overgrazing.
My husband’s former student had an archeological site there; I can say that the land's very barrenness makes discovering tiny plants more exciting.

South African scientists are pretty on top of things. For example, a huge phosphate mine starting up southwest of this area near Saldanha, has archeologists and botanists hard at work on the environmental impact statement. The mines will doubtless pay for some salvaging, preservation and likely revegetation. But they Will mine.
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