Following habitat fragmentation individual habitat patches may lose species over time is they pay off their "extinction debt." Species with relatively low rates of population extinction and colonization ("slow" species) may maintain extinction debts for particularly prolonged periods, but few data are available to test this prediction. We analyzed two unusually detailed data sets on forest plant distributions and land-Use history from Lincolnshire, United Kingdom, and Vlaams-Brabant, Belgium, to test for an extinction debt in relation to species-specific extinction and colonization rates. Logistic regression models predicting the presence-absence of 36 plant species were first parameterized using, data from Lincolnshire, where forest cover has been relatively low (similar to 5-8%) for the past 1000 years. Consistent with extinction debt theory, for relatively slow species (but not fast species) these models systematically underpredicted levels of patch occupancy in Vlaams-Brabant, where forest cover was reduced from similar to 25% to < 10% between 1775 and 1900 (it is presently 6.5%). As a consequence, the ability of the Lincolnshire models to predict patch occupancy in Vlaams-Brabant was worse for slow than for fast species. Thus, more than a century after forest fragmentation reached its current level an extinction debt persists for species with low rates of population turnover.