Checklist

A checklist of the plants of the forests and grasslands in the Weza district, southern KwaZulu-Natal and a review of their status in the Red Data List

Graham R.H. Grieve, Colleen T. Downs
Koedoe | Vol 57, No 1 | a1237 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/koedoe.v57i1.1237 | © 2015 Graham R.H. Grieve, Colleen T. Downs | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 30 June 2014 | Published: 16 September 2015

About the author(s)

Graham R.H. Grieve, School of Life Sciences, University of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa
Colleen T. Downs, School of Life Sciences, University of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa


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Abstract

Eastern mistbelt forests are naturally fragmented forests with grassland which occur from the Eastern Cape to KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. These were heavily logged by colonial settlers and continue to be harvested despite being protected. Consequently we documented a checklist of the plants of the forests and grasslands in the Weza district (3029DA WEZA), southern KwaZulu-Natal, including Ngeli Forest and nearby indigenous forest patches to highlight their biodiversity status and need for conservation. We also reviewed their status in the Red Data List. Of the 1554 records included in this summary of plant species for the Weza district, there were 6 lichens (0.4%), 46 bryophytes (3.0%), 58 pteridophytes (3.7%), 6 gymnosperms (0.4%) and the remaining 1424 species angiosperms (92.5%). Of the angiosperms, 27.3% were monocotyledons and 72.7% were dicotyledons. The most species-rich family was Asteraceae (239 species) followed by Fabaceae (115 species), Liliaceae (used for purposes of comparison against older studies – 89 species), Orchidaceae (89 species), Iridaceae (59 species), Poaceae (58 species), Asclepidaceae (again used for purposes of comparison against older studies – 57 species), Scrophulariaceae (42 species), Euphorbiaceae (32 species), Lamiaceae (32 species) and Rubiaceae (27 species). These 10 families each comprised more than 2% of the species in the list. Together they contributed 55% of the angiosperm species and 34.1% of the angiosperm genera. The biodiversity and conservation value of the study area are conserved pockets of eastern mistbelt forest, Drakensberg foothill moist grassland and mistbelt grassland. More than 4% of the species are under some degree of threat, as was evidenced by the number of species regarded as endangered (5), vulnerable (18), near threatened (10), critically rare (1), rare (20) or declining (11) amongst the 1554 species covered in the list.


Conservation implications: In terms of taxa under some degree of threat, number of endemic and near endemic species the biodiversity and conservation value of the Ngele (3029DA WEZA) area is reinforced. This necessitates that the area is appropriately protected from invasive alien species, and uncontrolled and illegal use by the neighbouring communities.


Keywords

Eastern mistbelt forest, eastern mistbelt grassland, plant species, check list, red data, conservation

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Crossref Citations

1. Characteristics of snags and forest structure in southern mistbelt forests of the Amatole region, South Africa
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