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Tankwa Karoo National Park

Vegetation

Research concerning vegetation is still ongoing within Tankwa National Park, with 615 plant species noted within the park boundaries to date.

Tankwa National Park is situated within the Succulent Karoo Biome. The Succulent Karoo Biodiversity Hotspot covers some 116,000km2 of desert stretching along the Atlantic coast of Africa, from south-western South Africa into southern Namibia,. It is one of the 25 richest and most threatened reservoirs of plant and animal life on earth and the only arid region recognised as a biodiversity hotspot. Biodiversity hotspots cover only 1.4% of the planet, yet contain 60% of all terrestrial species diversity.

The Succulent Karoo boasts the world’s richest succulent flora, as well as high reptile and invertebrate diversity. Compared to other hotspots, the vegetation remains relatively intact. However, only 30,000km2 of the original vegetation remains in a relatively pristine state with only 3.5% formally conserved. Dwarf Shrubland dominated by leaf succulents is found throughout the hotspot, a unique vegetation among Earth’s deserts. Nearly one-third of the floral species of the region are unique to the hotspot.

Succulent Karoo is vulnerable to several land use pressures, particularly overgrazing on communal lands, ostrich farming in the southeast, mining and the illegal collection of plants and animals for trade. Climate change is also expected to have a serious impact on the region’s biodiversity.

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