Conservation in the context of wildflower harvesting: the development and implementation of a Vulnerability Index on the Agulhas Plain of South Africa

Sean Privett, David Bek, Roger Bailey, Tony Binns, Domatilla Raimondo, Donovan Kirkwood, Doug Euston-Brown

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This paper focuses upon the role that science-based interventions allied to effective regulatory regimes can play in reducing the threat posed by inappropriate harvesting of wild flora. A Vulnerability Index (VI) has been developed for 150 natural fynbos species that exist on South Africa’s Agulhas Plain, where intensive wildflower harvesting occurs. The methodology underpinning the generation of the VI is outlined and justified in this paper. The VI comprises a range of characteristics relating to species distribution and biology that are likely to influence vulnerability to harvesting. The VI is proving to be an important tool for regulating the harvesting of wild fynbos and maintaining the resilience of natural ecosystems threatened by climate change. Furthermore, economic development and livelihood stability are promoted by protecting the resource base of marketable species. The paper discusses issues that have arisen relating to the application and rollout of the VI in practice.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1738-1757
Number of pages20
JournalJournal of Environmental Planning and Management
Issue number10
Early online date18 Nov 2019
Publication statusPublished - 23 Aug 2020

Bibliographical note

This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in Journal of Environmental Planning and Management, on 18/11/2019, available online:

Copyright © and Moral Rights are retained by the author(s) and/ or other copyright owners. A copy can be downloaded for personal non-commercial research or study, without prior permission or charge. This item cannot be reproduced or quoted extensively from without first obtaining permission in writing from the copyright holder(s). The content must not be changed in any way or sold commercially in any format or medium without the formal permission of the copyright holders.


Financial support was provided by Flower Valley Conservation Trust and the Agulhas Biodiversity Initiative.


  • Cape Floristic Region
  • Red List
  • biodiversity conservation
  • fynbos
  • sustainable harvesting

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Water Science and Technology
  • Environmental Science(all)
  • Fluid Flow and Transfer Processes
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law

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