The Succulent Karoo biome is an internationally recognized biodiversity hotspot, and is the world’s only arid hotspot. The 116 000 km2 biome extends from the south-west through the north-western areas of South Africa and into southern Namibia.
Then, why is Succulent Karoo a biodiversity hotspot?
The rich biodiversity of the Succulent Karoo hotspot is due to an extensive and complex array of habitat types derived from topographical and climatic diversity in the region’s rugged mountains, semi-arid shrublands and coastal dunes.
Additionally, what is the vegetation of Succulent Karoo?
The Succulent Karoo has a predominance of low, succulent-leaved shrubs, few grasses, and a scarcity of tall shrubs and trees. It is easily distinguished from its neighboring ecoregions by its climate, soils, and the resultant vegetation and flora.
What defines a biodiversity hotspot?
To be classified as a biodiversity hotspot, a region must have lost at least 70 percent of its original natural vegetation, usually due to human activity. There are over 30 recognized biodiversity hotspots in the world. The Andes Mountains Tropical Hotspot is the world’s most diverse hotspot.
Biodiversity Hotspots of the World
- Eastern Afro-Montane.
- The Guinean forests of Western Africa.
- Horn of Africa.
- Madagascar and the Indian Ocean Islands.
- Maputoland, Podoland, Albany hotspot.
- Succulent Karou.
- East Malanesian islands.
- South Africa’s Cape floristic hotspot.
The Succulent Karoo is notable for the world’s richest flora of succulent plants, and harbours about one-third of the world’s approximately 10,000 succulent species. 40% of its succulent plants are endemic. The region is extraordinarily rich in geophytes, harbouring approximately 630 species.
It hosts four biodiversity hotspots: the Himalayas, the Western Ghats, the Indo-Burma region and Sundaland (including the Nicobar Islands). These hotspots have numerous endemic species. Nearly 5% of India’s total area is formally classified under protected areas.
Common animals include the Bat-Eared Fox, Ostrich, Spring Hare, tortoises and Brown Locust. The Riverine Rabbit is a threatened species found in the Nama Karoo.
New Zealand is an internationally recognised world ‘hotspot’ for biodiversity. This high endemism is largely the result of our long isolation from other land masses and diverse geography and climate, allowing unique flora and fauna to develop. … New Zealand relies on the maintenance of healthy ecosystem services.
The Succulent Karoo, including desert, covers about 7.5% of the country (approximately 83 000 km2). This biome covers the arid western parts of South Africa, including Namaqualand and the Richtersveld. The region is extremely dry in summer and the temperature often rises above 40oC.
The perennial plants survive the dry season by using water stored in the leaves or stems. These plants are called succulents. reducing the number of stomata. The non-succulent perennials have very small leaves to reduce water loss by transpiration.