South Africa’s Disappearing Wetland Habitats

Sources: 2nd September 2010

Encroaching farmland is threatening several delicate ecosystems found in South Africa’s wetlands. Species such as the Cadiscus aquaticus daisy are at such risk that the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) has placed them on the Red List of Threatened Species. South Africa is not the only country with threatened flora though as the IUCN’s Red List has grown from 5186 in 1998 to 8084 this year. The IUCN has also stated that more than 20% of Africa’s freshwater species are on the brink of extinction following a five year study of 5167 species.

With the world’s population growing at a relentless rate and changing climate conditions causing shortages in the world’s food supply, the expansion of farmland and the intensifying of fishing practices is not likely to end any time soon. Will such mechanisms as the Red List really prevent the expansion of agricultural lands? How else can delicate ecosystems be protected from human needs?

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