Biodiversity Theme Page
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
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 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.