, Volume 68, Issue 1, pp 3–18 | Cite as

Plant community structure in relation to grazing and environmental changes along a north-south transect in the western Kalahari

  • Christina Skarpe


Sixteen vegetation types were described from a north-south transect in the western Kalahari. Pronounced differences were found between communities on the nutrient poor red Kalahari sand, covering most of the area and those on fine soils and white calcareous sand. Syntaxa resulting from severe overgrazing by livestock were in most cases clearly distinguished from the less disturbed vegetation. The communities on red sand consisted mainly of shrub savanna dominated by perennial tufted grasses, whereas in the vegetation on calcareous material and on overgrazed land, forbs, dwarf shrubs and shrubs played a more important role.

The major communities on red sand showed a clear geographical zonation roughly corresponding to the gradient in mean annual rainfall and its interannual variation. In the northern and central Kalahari these syntaxa were dominated by species of Sudano-Zambezian origin and in the southern Kalahari by species showing Karoo-Namib affinities.


Botswana Canonical correspondence analysis Chorology Classification Grazing Kalahari Karoo-Namib Region Life form Ordination Savanna Sudano-Zambezian Region 


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Copyright information

© Dr W. Junk Publishers 1986

Authors and Affiliations

  • Christina Skarpe
    • 1
  1. 1.Institute of Ecological BotanyUppsala UniversityUppsalaSweden

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