The veld grasslands of Africa occur in the most southern portion of the continent spreading through the political boundaries of South Africa, Lesotho, Swaziland, Mozambique, Zimbabwe and Botswana. This ecosystem is among some of the most recently developed biomes in the world. Veld, which means field in Africaans, is a term that has colloquial come to mean land that is worked. The velds are expansive grasslands bounded to the east and south by the Great Escarpment and the Lesotho highlands and to the west by the Kalahari Desert. Agricultural development is not as extensive in this region as other areas of the world, though a mix of large commercial and smallholder operations exists and mining operations are extensive. Vegetation complexes in the veld are often described as sweet and sour referring to the palatability of the species. Livestock and wild game ranchers rely heavily on the veld for its forage production, which makes grassland management an important component of local economies. Climatically, the grasslands exist on a gradient of moist subhumid to semi-arid conditions.
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