The Cape Floral Region has been recognised as one of the most special places for plants—in terms of diversity, density and number of endemic species—in the world. Covering less than 0.5% of the area of Africa but home to nearly 20% of the continent’s flora, this extraordinary assemblage of plant life and its associated fauna is represented by a series of eight protected areas covering a large area. These protected areas also conserve the outstanding ecological, biological and evolutionary processes associated with the beautiful and distinctive Fynbos vegetation, unique to the Cape Floral Region.
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The distinctive flora of the region, comprising 80% of its richness, is the fynbos (fine bush), fine-leaved vegetation adapted to both the Mediterranean type of climate and to periodic fires, and defined by the location or dominant species. Plant variety is based on soil types which vary from predominantly coarse, sandy, acidic nutrient-poor soils, to alkaline marine sands and slightly richer alluvials. There are pockets of evergreen forest in fire-protected gorges and on deeper soils; in the east are valley thickets and succulent thickets, which are less fire-dependent, and in the drier north, low succulent Karoo shrubland.

Cape Floristic RegionThe Cape Floristic Region is a floristic region located near the southern tip of South Africa. It is the only floristic region of the Cape (South African) Floristic Kingdom, and includes only one floristic province, known as the Cape Floristic Province. The Cape Floristic Region, the smallest of the six recognised floral kingdoms of the world, is an area of extraordinarily high diversity and endemism, and is home to more than 9 000 vascular plant species, of which 69 percent are endemic. Much of this diversity is associated with the fynbos biome, a Mediterranean-type, fire-prone shrubland. The economical worth of fynbos biodiversity, based on harvests of fynbos products (e.g. wildflowers) and eco-tourism, is estimated to be in the region of R77 million a year. Thus, it is clear that the Cape Floristic Region has both economic and intrinsic biological value as a biodiversity hotspot. Home to the greatest non-tropical concentration of higher plant species in the world, the region is the only hotspot that encompasses an entire floral kingdom, and holds five of South Africa’s 12 endemic plant families and 160 endemic genera. Covering 78,555 km², Cape Floristic Region hotspot is located entirely within the borders of South Africa. It is one of the five temperate Mediterranean-type systems on the hotspots list, and is one of only two hotspots that encompass an entire floral kingdom (the other being New Caledonia)[citation needed ]. The Region covers the Mediterranean climate region of South Africa in the Western Cape in the southwestern corner of the country, and extends eastward into the Eastern Cape, a transitional zone between the winter rainfall region to the west and the summer-rainfall region to the east in KwaZulu-Natal. Most of the region is covered with fynbos, a sclerophyllous shrubland occurring on acid sands or nutrient poor soils derived from Table Mountain Sandstones (Cape Supergroup). Fynbos is home to an amazing diversity of plant species including many members of the Protea family ( Proteaceae), Heath family ( Ericaceae), and Reed family of restios ( Restionaceae). Other vegetation types are sandveld, a soft coastal scrubland found mostly on the west-facing coast of the Western Cape Province, on tertiary sands. Renosterveld is a grassy shrubland dominated by members of the Daisy family ( Asteraceae – particularly renosterbos ( Elytropappus rhinocerotis), graminoids and geophytes, occurring on the base-rich shaley soils of the coastal forelands. Small pockets of Afromontane forest ( Southern Afrotemperate Forest) can be found in humid and sheltered areas. The World Wildlife Fund divides the Cape floristic region into three ecoregions, the Lowland fynbos and renosterveld, Montane fynbos and renosterveld and the Albany thickets. The fynbos ecoregions are designated one of the Global 200 priority ecoregions for conservation. Conservation International declared the Cape floristic region to be a biodiversity hotspot. In 2004, the “Cape Floral Region Protected Areas” were inscribed as a World Heritage Site. The site includes eight representative protected areas: This article incorporates CC-BY-3.0 text from the reference

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