oa Koedoe : African Protected Area Conservation and Science - A floristic analysis of the vegetation of Platberg, eastern Free State, South Africa : original research
A checklist of vascular plants of Platberg was compiled to determine species richness, rarity and endemism. The floristic analysis is part of the Department of Economic, Tourism and Environmental Affairs Free State biodiversity assessment programme and conservation management plan for Platberg. The analysis identified a total of 669 species belonging to 304 genera and 95 families, with 214 species belonging to the Monocotyledoneae and 438 species to the Dicotyledoneae. The largest family is Asteraceae with 126 species, followed by Poaceae with 73 species, Cyperaceae with 39 species, Fabaceae with 33 species, and Scrophulariaceae with 27 species. Various fynbos species were found, as well as 26 endemic/near-endemic species belonging to the Drakensberg Alpine Centre or Eastern Mountain Region. The results of this study revealed that Platberg shares inselberg floral richness and endemism that can be tracked via the Afromontane archipelago-like string of inselbergs and mountains, which stretch north through the Chimanimani Mountains, into Malawi, the Eastern Arc Mountains via Tanzania and north through Ethiopia, into Eurasia.
Conservation implications: Platberg, as an inselberg, is a site of significant biological diversity, with high species richness, vegetation selection and ecosystem complexity. It shares floral richness and endemism via inselbergs and mountains throughout Africa. The high species richness, Red Data species and ecosystems make this area an important conservation site that should be legislated and protected.
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