Othonna furcata

Assessor: Sarah Schumann

Sensitive in 2010
Reason for the sensitivity status
This taxon is sensitive as it is threatened with illegal collection of wild individuals, causing population decline. Evidence shows that the Othonna genus is in high demand in international trade for ornamental and horticultural purposes with individuals from several species being illegally removed. The species is facing multiple threats, making it highly vulnerable to further population loss and decline. Recruitment and recovery may be poor. Releasing data on this species can exacerbate threat and vulnerability.
This species is extremely rare in the wild and is known to be exploited, utilised or traded. The localities of remaining populations need to be protected to avoid any further exploitation, which is likely to drive it to extinction.
Exploitation extent
Small or insignificant - wild individuals of the species are known to be exploited, collected, traded or utilized in a targeted manner, but utilisation is localised and/or affects only a small proportion of the wild population.
Justification and references

According to the SANBI Red List Assessment, this species is of Least Concern (Foden & Potter, 2005). This species is experiencing population decline primarily due to habitat loss from mining and infrastructure development as well as drought (Helme, N, personal communication 2022, 25 January). This genus is in demand and of interest in international horticultural trade, as indicated by several online marketplace, e-commerce and auction sites. This species and others of the genus were among those targeted and confiscated during recent criminal prosecutions of illegal plant collecting (Confiscation Lists (2018-2022) provided by Cape Nature, SANBI Kirstenbosch Botanical Garden, SANBI Karoo Desert Botanic Garden, SANParks Sendelingsdrift Botanic Garden and Department of Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment). There is little sign of loss from collection (Helme, N, personal communication 2022, 25 January). The above suggests that this genus is being targeted and that this species may be threatened.

Foden, W. & Potter, L. 2005. Othonna furcata (Lindl.) Druce. National Assessment: Red List of South African Plants version 2020.1. 

Population vulnerability
Population is vulnerable: size is <= 2500 mature individuals OR the number of known subpopulations is <= 5 OR range is <= 100km2 OR species at risk of localised extinctions
Justification and references

Overall population number is unknown but potentially as much as 40% of the population could be lost if development proceeds (Helme, N, personal communication 2022, 25 January).

Targeted demographics
Mature (breeding) individuals are killed, significantly weakened or are permanently removed from the wild, OR immature individuals are targeted and this significantly impacts mature (breeding) individuals.
Justification and references

Whole individuals are recorded in confiscations.

Regeneration potential
This species has a slow population growth rate, or the growth rate varies depending on habitat, and there is a poor chance the wild populations will recover from exploitation OR a collector might feasibly harvest the entire extant population removing the chance of subsequent recruitment.
Justification and references

This species is known to be exploited with several other existing threats making this species susceptible to decline (Helme, N, personal communication 2022, 25 January). Recruitment and recovery may be poor.