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Biodiversity Theme Page

Introduction

 

Background


Southern Africa houses a wealth of biodiversity being the third most ecologically diverse county in the world having three globally recognised biodiversity hotspots; Cape floristic region, the succulent Karoo, and the Maputaland-Pondoland. Biodiversity is defined as the variety of organisms considered at three levels: genetic diversity, species diversity, and ecosystem diversity. Among areas of comparable size, 1% of the worlds land area, Southern Africa has the richest flora in the world being home to 10% of all known bird, fish and plant species and 6% of the reptiles and mammals species.

 

South Africa has in place a comprehensive system for monitoring and protecting its biodiversity (Huntley, 1989). This system is centered on the National Environment Management Biodiversity Act (2004). This act provides for the management and conservation of South Africa’s biodiversity through six guiding principles (www.sanbi.org.za):

  • Biodiversity planning and monitoring

  • The protection of threatened ecosystems and species

  • The control and management of alien and invasive species

  • The regulation of bioprospecting

  • Fair and equitable benefit-sharing

  • The regulation of permits

 Savanna Biome: 8 ½ % is conserved in South Africa with the Kruger National Park representing the most important conservation area due to its size

 The Kruger National Park represents the most important conservation area due to its size, conserving nearly 8 and a half percent of the Savanna Biome in South Africa

Renosterveld: one of three vegetation types making up the Cape Floristic Region having 1700 unique species

Renosterveld is one of three vegetation types making up the Cape Floristic Region having 1700 unique species


Key words: conservation, diversity, protected areas, hotspots, endemic species, invasive species, habitat fragmentation, 
corridors, extinction, persistence, conservation targets; ecological and evolutionary processes; IUCN Red List, 
implementation, restoration; systematic conservation planning, community based natural resource management. 

 

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