Some plant species in SA’s biodiversity hotspots confirmed extinct

Most of these species are endemic, which means they're not found anywhere else in the world.

The Mabola Protected Environment in Mpumalanga is an area of high biodiversity and a strategic water source area. Picture: WWF South Africa.

CAPE TOWN - Plant species in three of South Africa’s biodiversity hotspots have been confirmed extinct.

In a scientific study published in the journal Current Biology, botanists raised alarm over the shocking rate of plant extinctions in the country.

There are 36 biodiversity hotspots around the globe, areas that have extremely high, unique plant species.

Most of these species are endemic, which means they're not found anywhere else in the world.

South Africa has three biodiversity hotspots; the Cape Floristic Region, the Succulent Karoo, and the Maputuland-Pondoland-Albany corridor.

Principal study author, Professor Jaco Le Roux says 79 plants in South Africa’s three biodiversity hotspots are extinct.

Le Roux, who is affiliated with the Centre for Invasion Biology at Stellenbosch University, says at 49.4%, agriculture tops the list as the main driver for indigenous plant extinction in the country.

Urbanization accounts for 38% and invasive plant species 22%.

Louw explains more should be done at government level to conserve the country's biodiversity.

Experts predict in the areas they studied, an additional 21 plant species will go extinct by 2030, 47 species by 2050 and 110 species by 2100.