Translocation of an endangered succulent plant species from sandstone outcrops earmarked for coal mining
Van den Berg, J.
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Frithia humilis is an endangered succulent plant species. Its distribution range overlaps with the coal fields of Mpumalanga and it is therefore threatened by opencast mining activities in particular. One of the 11 known populations of F. humilis was translocated from a licensed coal mining site to three suitable receptor sites within the species' distribution range. A long-term monitoring programme was initiated to track the progress of the newly established populations. Temporal trends in population demography, size classes, and fecundity were recorded. Population numbers of size classes fluctuated annually. However, flower frequency increased over time and seedling recruitment contributed significantly to population growth. Receptor sites with similar geological conditions to the donor site had more persistent cohorts, which suggest that such sites should receive priority during the translocation of endangered edaphic specialists. This study not only confirms that a Frithia humilis population can successfully establish after a translocation, but also serves as an important baseline for future comparative purposes to gauge the long-term success of the translocation effort.