Snapshot of the Succulent Karoo

This region is already vulnerable

People and the economy

  • It has very few people – only 300,000 people in 100 000 km2.
  • It has high unemployment and there is a trend of people moving to cities
  • The people depend on natural resources – supported by livelihoods of agriculture, (particularly livestock), tourism (based on indigenous flowers and landscapes), and mining
  • Most of the region is used for communal or commercial livestock grazing.
  • It is a water stressed area
  • It has recent experience of extreme floods, droughts, dust storms and other unusual or out of the ordinary weather phenomena

Biodiversity & natural resources

  • The Succulent Karoo is a special place for plants – it has over 6000 plant species, of which about 2400 are endemic (i.e., occur only in this area and nowhere else in the world). However very little (3.5%) of the biome is formally protected in conservation areas.
  • The biodiversity of the region is under threat currently from mining (particularly in the Namibia Gariep and Namaqualand areas) and extensive crop agriculture (in the southern Karoo).
  • Existing conservation areas are ‘islands’ which do not include a range of climatic and environmental conditions to allow plants and animals to move in response to seasonal and long-term climatic changes.