Abstract. To determine the relationship between vegetation and environmental parameters in a desert‐savanna ecotone, vegetation in the Naukluft Mountains of Namibia (southern Africa) was described and analysed in terms of environmental parameters determining the observed patterns. 12 plant communities, largely characterized by low shrubs, were described on the basis of a classification. Through ordination altitude, clay, potassium content of the substrate and, to a lesser extent, habitats were identified as underlying environmental factors determining the composition of these plant communities. The edaphic parameters showed some correlation with subsurface geology, but microclimatic conditions, water availability and level of disturbance appeared to override the effect of nutrient composition provided by different substrate. Communities of conservation importance, such as plant communities composed of Karoo shrubs, are prevalent on the mountain plateau, presenting an isolated outpost of Nama Karoo vegetation. The transitional status between desert and savanna, remnant patches of Nama Karoo and the high habitat diversity mark the importance of this high altitude area for biodiversity conservation.
Journal of Vegetation Science – Wiley
Published: Feb 1, 2001
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