African Karoo and Kaokoveld Shrubland

Semi-desert shrublands lie along Africa's southwestern coast in the Kaokoveld and Karoo regions bordering the Namib Desert. In the 17th century, the Karoo was settled by Europeans who introduced sheep grazing to the region. The composition and distribution of grass species has been highly altered as a consequence of historic mismanagement, in particular over-grazing. Succulent and non-succulent (woody) species replace each other cyclically in this system with a few grass species growing in restricted areas, particularly within drainage areas. Precipitation in the area ranges from 50-400 mm (2-16 in) with winter temperatures dropping to a low of -3 °C (26.6 °F)and summer highs reaching 36 °C (96.8 °F). The Kaokoveld lies to the north of the Namib Desert between 13 S and 21 S latitude. The area remains relatively unstudied from an ecological perspective, but is home to many important animal species, such as the black rhino and desert elephant, and is inhabited by nomadic pastoralists, the Ovahimba.