In situ conservation challenges of Brackenridgea zanguebarica Oliv.: A South African case study




Abstract. Rasethe MT. 2022. In situ conservation challenges of Brackenridgea zanguebarica Oliv.: A South African case study. Biodiversitas 23: 3876-3883. This qualitative study probed the factors that are hindering the successful management of Brackenridgea zanguebarica Oliv, a South African plant that is listed as Critically Endangered on the South African Red Data List. The plant is restricted to one state-owned nature reserve in the Limpopo province, South Africa. Brackenridgea zanguebarica is a threatened medicinal plant sought after by laypeople and traditional healers and often found in muthi markets across South Africa. In this country, this species is confined to the Thengwe village in the Vhembe district of the Limpopo province. Information on this species was collected using semi-structured questionnaires and focus group discussions during face-to-face interviews with all conservationists employed in the state-owned nature reserve. The interviews were complemented by extensive field observation on the population status of B. zanguebarica across the reserve. The results showed that B. zanguebarica is mainly being managed using environmental regulations and patrols in reserve to arrest and charge persons found in the reserve harvesting B. zanguebarica. The reserve only has seven permanent officials. They do their work without firearms to protect themselves from poachers and no cars are used during patrols due to the lack of proper roads in the mountainous area. The conservation officers mentioned that there is always new evidence of illegal harvesting of B. zanguebarica across the nature reserve. Field observation of the harvested populations indicated high levels of unsustainable harvesting. The harvesting reported by conservation officials and observed is of concern and will increase the risk of extinction of this species. The implementation of regulations as the sole management tool for this species in the Brackenridgea Nature Reserve is not enough, resulting in a situation where the current management of B. zanguebarica in reserve is not effective.


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