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South African Fauna and Flora

Fauna and Flora of South Africa brought to you by Conference Venues South Africa including South Africa's plant species, animals and flowers.

south africa fauna flora

South Africa has more than 20,000 different plants and is among the top six megadiverse countries in the world, 10% of all the known species of plants on Earth are in South Africa. It is particularly rich in plant biodiversity with the most prevalent biome in South Africa being the grassland where low shrubs, different grasses, and acacia trees dominate. Vegetation becomes sparse towards the northwest as a result of low rainfall and several species of water-storing plants exist in the dry Namaqualand area. The grass and thorny savannah turn slowly into a bush savannah towards the northeast of the country and there are significant numbers of baobab trees near the northern Kruger National Park.

The Fynbos area, which makes up the majority of the Cape floral region, contains more than nine thousand species, one of the most abundant areas in the world in terms of floral biodiversity. Most of the plants are evergreen hard-leaf plants with fine, needlelike leaves. The Cape is home to an uniquely South African plant called the protea, there are about 130 different protea species in South Africa.

Only 1% of South Africa is forest, largely in the humid coastal plains of KwaZulu-Natal. South Africa has lost large areas of natural habitat in the last four decades, primarily due to sprawling development, overpopulation, and deforestation. South Africa has also been affected by exotic species with many posing a significant threat to biodiversity and scarce water resources. The original forests found by the first European settlers was exploited until only small patches remained. South African hardwood trees like Stinkwood, Real Yellowwood, and South African Black Ironwood are all protected.

Numerous animals are found in the bushveld including leopards, lions, blue wildebeest, white rhinos, kudus, hyenas, impalas, giraffes and hippopotamus. A significant part of the bushveld exists in the northeast and the far north Waterberg Biosphere of South Africa.

Climate change is expected to cause considerable warming and drying to much of this already semiarid region, with weather events such as heatwaves, flooding and drought increasing. The Cape Floral Kingdom is identified as one of the most threatened since it will be hit particularly hard by climate change and has such an extraordinary diversity of life. Increased intensity and frequency of fire, drought, and climbing temperatures expect to push many rare species towards extinction.


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