The succulent and Nama-karoo form part of the arid south-western zone of Africa, a vast region of rugged landscapes and low treeless vegetation. Studies of this unique biome have yielded fascinating insights into the ecology of its flora and fauna. This book, originally published in 1999, is the first to synthesise these studies, presenting information on biogeographic patterns and life processes, form and function of animals and plants, foraging ecology, landscape-level dynamics and anthropogenic influences. Detailed analyses of the factors distinguishing the biota of the Karoo from that of other temperate deserts are given and generalisations about semi-arid ecosystems challenged. The ideas expounded, the ecological principles reviewed, and the results presented are relevant to all those working in the extensive arid and semi-arid regions of the world.
Foreword P. W. Roux; Preface; Acknowledgements; Part I. The Driving Variables W. Dean and S. Milton: 1. The climate of the Karoo - a functional approach P. Desmet and R. Cowling; 2. Soils of the arid south-western zone of Africa M. Watkeys; 3. Paleoenvironments M. Meadows and M. Watkeys; 4. Plant biogeography, endemism and diversity R. Cowling and C. Hilton-Taylor; 5. Biogeography, endemism and diversity of animals C. Vernon; Part II. Form and Function B. Lovegrove: 6. Form and function in perennial plants G. Midgley and F. van der Heyden; 7. Functional aspects of annual and biennial plants M. van Rooyen; 8. Plant reproductive ecology K. Esler; 9. Animal form and function B. Lovegrove; 10. Animal foraging and food W. Dean and S. Milton; Part III. Dynamics P. Novellie: 11. Population-level dynamics S. Milton, R. Davies and G. Kerley; 12. Community patterns and dynamics A. Palmer, P. Novellie and J. Lloyd; 13. Modelling populations and community dynamics in Karoo ecosystems K. Kellner and J. Booysen; 14. Spatially explicit computer simulation models - tools for understanding vegetation dynamics and supporting rangeland management F. Jeltsch, T. Wiegand and C. Wissel; Part IV. Human Impacts W. Siegfried: 15. Hunters and herders in the Karoo landscape A. Smith; 16. Historical and contemporary land use and the desertification of the Karoo M. Hoffman, B. Cousins, T. Meyer, A. Petersen and H. Hendricks; 17. Alien plant invaders of the Karoo: attributes, impacts and control S. Milton, H. Zimmerman and J. Hoffman; 18. Comparison of ecosystem processes in the Nama Karoo and other deserts W. Whitford; 18. The Succulent Karoo in a global context: plant structural and functional concepts comparison with North American winter rainfall deserts K. Esler, P. Rundel and R. Cowling; 20. The Karoo: past and present S. Milton and W. Dean; References; Index.