Red List Statistics

National statistics

The South African flora
Nearly a quarter of the South African flora is considered either threatened with extinction or of conservation concern.

National statistics
The total number of plant taxa listed nationally in each Red List category.

Major threats
Major threats to the South African flora are identified in terms of the number of plant taxa Red-Listed as threatened with extinction as a result of each threat. Habitat loss, which includes the irreversible conversion of natural vegetation for infrastructure development, urban expansion, crop cultivation, timber plantations and mines is by far the most severe threat to South African plants, affecting more than 1600 taxa. Invasive alien plant species outcompeting indigenous plant species is another severe threat. Habitat degradation includes threats such as overgrazing, inappropriate fire management (which may be either too frequent, too infrequent or out of season fires) and clearing of woody shrubs and trees from forests and savannas. These threats may appear to leave natural vegetation intact, but causes a disturbance and breakdown of essential ecosystem processes, resulting in the loss of sensitive species. Harvesting is the unsustainable, destructive removal of plants and plant material such as tree bark for local and international trade (medicinal as well as ornamental) as well as for materials for construction and crafts. Demographic factors include species that are threatened as a result of high risk population dynamics such as small population size, poor breeding success, and skewed male-female ratios. Pollution indicates species that are threatened by water, land or air pollution, typically species affected by harmful industrial and agricultural chemicals such as fertilizer, pesticides and herbicides. Changes in species dynamics indicate species that are threatened as a result of disturbances of the natural interactions of native species such as the loss of pollinators or dispersers. Often severe habitat disturbance may give a few native species a competitive advantage, and they then act in the same way as alien invasive plants, outcompeting and replacing other sensitive native species. Climate change has been identified as a threat to only a small number of plants, particularly because the potential impact of climate change on different species is not well understood and not easy to predict. Natural disasters include threats such as droughts and floods.

Where do most species of conservation concern occur?

South African species of conservation concern per QDS
A map of South Africa, showing areas of high concentrations of taxa of conservation concern.

Provincial statistics

Province Size (km2) % Transformed Total number of taxa Endemic taxa % of SA flora occurring in province Threatened taxa Endemic threatened taxa % of national threatened flora Taxa of conservation concern Endemic taxa of conservation concern
Eastern Cape170056176167104229.92911689.7620356
Free State1308383723932311.6720.2356
North West10701831206614102070.7408
Northern Cape37295054931121223.943930913.9879591
Western Cape1294412210778658152.31939181463.834053103

Number of taxa listed per Red List category for each province
Province EX EW RE CR PE CR EN VU NT Critically Rare Rare DDD DDT
Eastern Cape400122679174821714684162
Free State00001241119724
North West000324111413212
Northern Cape01064391299962224476156
Western Cape203042292648957349106789219582

Biome statistics

South African biomes

Biome Size (km2) % Protected % Transformed Total number of taxa Endemic taxa Threatened taxa Endemic threatened taxa Taxa of conservation concern Endemic taxa of conservation concern
Albany Thicket3525011.99Data not yet availableData not yet available1034218474
Desert626030.31Data not yet availableData not yet available73912116
Forest481540.818Data not yet availableData not yet available1093219671
Fynbos8144522.731Data not yet availableData not yet available1947177434273143
Grassland3656294.539Data not yet availableData not yet available275150559314
IOCB15307.164Data not yet availableData not yet available963114748
Nama Karoo2493541.62Data not yet availableData not yet available34169954
Savanna40707213.419Data not yet availableData not yet available253103431183
Succulent Karoo782037.85Data not yet availableData not yet available489287859538


SANBI. 2020. Statistics: Red List of South African Plants version 2020.1. Downloaded from on 2023/12/07.