Succulent Karoo: An Arid Biodiversity Hotspot
At approximately 111 000 km in size, the Succulent Karoo is the fourth largest biome in southern Africa, smaller only than the savanna, Nama-Karoo and grassland biomes.
Additionally, what makes the Succulent Karoo special?
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.
Hereof, where is the Succulent Karoo biome?
Why is Succulent Karoo a 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.
Karoo, also spelled Karroo, arid to semiarid geographic region of Eastern Cape, Western Cape, and Northern Cape provinces, South Africa. The Karoo is best defined by its vegetation, which consists of assorted succulents and low scrub bushes spaced from one foot to several feet apart.
The Grassland Biome is represented by the Karoo Escarpment Grassland vegetation types, which is part of the Dry Highveld Grassland Bioregion. The physical appearance of the vegetation consists of Montane Karoo grassy shrublands, Karoo grassy dwarf shrublands, Karoo succulent dwarf shrublands and riparian thickets.
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.
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.
Climate. The climate tends to be volatile and very harsh. Droughts are frequent with rain primarily falling in the summer. Rainfall can also be varied with it fluctuating between 100 and 520 millimetres (3.94 and 20.47 in) per year.
The Little Karoo has a semidesert climate. Summers are usually hot and dry. In winter the days often are warm, but the nights can be quite cold. The annual rainfall varies.
Fog and dew may provide a vital source of moisture for many of the rare succulent shrubs that are limited to the fog belt along our arid West Coast.