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Home The River Basin People and the River Governance Resource Management
The Limpopo River Basin
 Introduction
Geography
Climate and Weather
Hydrology
Water Quality
Ecology and Biodiversity
 Ecology
 Aquatic Ecology
 Wetlands
 Biodiversity
 Biodiversity in the Basin
Biomes and Eco-regions
 Biodiversity Resources
 Human Impacts on Biodiversity
 Millennium Ecosystem Assessment
Sub-basin Summaries
 References

 



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Terrestrial Biomes and Eco-regions  

The World Wildlife Fund for Nature (WWF) has, over the past 10 years, been leading efforts to identify, describe, classify and map the ecology of planet Earth. These efforts have lead to the development of geographic mapping concepts known asiomes and Ecoregions. These concepts are defined below and their distributions across the Limpopo River basin described.

Trumpeter Hornbill.
Source: Heigan 2009
( click to enlarge )

Biomes

WWF defines Biomes as "the various regions of our planet that can best be distinguished by their climate, fauna and flora. There are different ways of classifying biomes but the common elements are climate, habitat, animal and plant adaptation, biodiversity and human activity." (WWF 2010a). 

The map below shows the distribution of Biomes across the Limpopo River basin. The dominant biome in the Limpopo River basin is the Tropical and subtropical grasslands, savannas and shrublands.  The south west and central portion of the basin include some Montane grasslands and shrublands.  The Changane floodplain in Mozambique is surrounded by flooded grasslands and savannas.

Terrestrial Ecoregions of the Limpopo River Basin.
Source: Olson et al. 2001
( click to enlarge )

Ecoregions

WWF defines ecoregions as: unit of land or water containing a geographically distinct assemblage of species, natural communities, and environmental conditions" (WWF 2010b). Therefore, ecoregions help us understand the nature and make up of species, communities and ecosystems.

While ecoregions have been mapped (see below), the boundaries of these regions should not be considered as rigid. These regions are broad descriptions of species, communities and geographic conditions whose edges are often blurred.

The map below shows the distribution of terrestrial ecoregions for the Limpopo River basin.  The map is dominated by two major ecoregions - the Southern Africa bushveld in the west and the Zambezian and Mopane woodlands in the east.  In addition to Southern Africa bushveld, the Botswana portion of the basin also includes Kalahari Acacia Bakiaea woodlands.  The far west of the basin, in Mozambique, includes Southern Miombo woodlands and Zambezian halophytes.  The most southern part of the basin in South Africa includes Highveld grasslands.

 



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Tour video scenes along the Limpopo related to The River Basin Theme