New technology launched to ensure protection of fynbos

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New mobile technology has been launched to ensure better management, protection and harvesting of indigenous fynbos.

The Cape Floral Region is a biodiversity hotspot comprising 13 protected areas in the Western and Eastern Cape provinces. Twenty two species of fynbos have been lost in the Western Cape alone due to factors such as exports, destruction of their habitat, the spread of invasive alien plants and runaway fires.

Kirsten Watson from Flower Valley Conservation Trust says that the app is a support tool which helps see which species has been harvested.

“The app comes in with the iFynbos App and it comes in as a support tool, so it’s got a field guide so it helps them to see which species can be harvested and what is the status of those species. It also helps them manage their veld to see where they’ve harvested, which species, when, and you can track that all the time.”

The app is freely downloadable and also available to the public.

Most of South Africa’s fynbos biodiversity is found on land belonging to farmers. Ultimately, the protection of this natural heritage rests in their hands.

Many species of fynbos are in demand in Europe, Asia, Russia and other global markets. The Sustainable Harvesting Programme initiated by The Flower Valley Conservation Trust helps landowners and other harvesters to pick their fynbos responsibly. In so doing, they also protect the jobs of those working for them.

Loretta Afrikaner from TJ Agulhas Flowers explains the importance of sustainable harvesting.

“The reason for sustainable harvesting is we need to do it so that the plants can survive and there’s always fynbos to harvest. If you don’t then they will die, they won’t survive. We’re doing it sustainably so that there’s work all around, we work all year round.”

With the help of the new mobile app, Fynbos has a greater chance to survive.