South African Wetlands: Classification of Ecosystem Types
This article describes the classification of marine, estuarine, and inland aquatic ecosystems, including but not restricted to “true” wetlands as per the narrow definition (as in the South African National Water Act) and discusses recent developments in the classification of aquatic ecosystems in South Africa. Marine, estuarine and inland aquatic ecosystems tend to be dealt with separately in South Africa; it is thus not surprising that separate classification systems have been independently developed in the country for these broad groups of aquatic ecosystems. Significant progress has been made in the classification of marine, estuarine and inland aquatic ecosystems in South Africa, especially in the past ten years. Much of this advancement has been spurred on by national biodiversity assessments and the rollout of a number of regional systematic conservation planning initiatives across the country. One of the biggest challenges, and opportunities, that has arisen out of the independent development of separate classification systems for marine, estuarine and inland aquatic ecosystems in South Africa over the past few years is the possibility of developing an integrated classification system for all aquatic ecosystems in the country.
KeywordsClassification Typing South Africa Aquatic ecosystems
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