The Karoo Ecological Patterns and Processes

The Karoo Ecological Patterns and Processes

R700.00 plus postage. 

Paperback, available from the authors

Dean, W.R.J. & Milton, S.J. (eds) 1999. 

The Karoo Ecological Patterns and Processes. CUP 

Hardback  (ISBN-13: 9780521554503 | ISBN-10: 0521554500),

DOI: 10.2277/0521554500; Also available in eBook format 

Available from Cambridge University Press; Lower Ground Floor; Nautica Building ; The Water Club; Beach Road, Granger Bay; Cape Town 8005; South Africa . PO Box 50017 Victoria and Alfred Waterfront Cape Town 8002 South Africa Tel: +27 21 412 7800 Fax: +27 21 419 8418

E mail:

Cambridge University Press (


click here to return to our publications page


The Succulent and Nama Karoo form part of the arid southwestern zone of Africa, a vast region of rugged landscapes and low treeless vegetation. Studies of this unique biome have yielded fascinating insights into the ecology of its flora and fauna. This book is the first to synthesize these studies, presenting information on biogeographic patterns and life processes, form and function of animals and plants, foraging ecology, landscape-level dynamics and anthropogenic influences. Novel analyses of the factors distinguishing the biota of the Karoo from that of other temperate deserts are given and generalisations about semi-arid ecosystems challenged. The ideas expounded, the ecological principles reviewed, and the results presented are relevant to all those working in the extensive arid and semi-arid regions of the world.  View list of contributors...

• The first book to synthesize hitherto widely-scattered information about the ecological patterns and processes of this unique region

• Presents a novel analysis of factors which distinguish theKarooflora and fauna from that of other temperate deserts

• Challenges the generalisations that have been made about semi-arid ecosystems


Foreword P. W. Roux;



Part I. The Driving Variables W. Dean and S. Milton: 1. The climate of the Karoo - a functional approach P. Desmet and R. Cowling; 2. Soils of the arid south-western zone of Africa M. Watkeys; 3. Paleoenvironments M. Meadows and M. Watkeys; 4. Plant biogeography, endemism and diversity R. Cowling and C. Hilton-Taylor; 5. Biogeography, endemism and diversity of animals C. Vernon;

Part II. Form and Function B. Lovegrove: 6. Form and function in perennial plants G. Midgley and F. van der Heyden; 7. Functional aspects of annual and biennial plants M. van Rooyen; 8. Plant reproductive ecology K. Esler; 9. Animal form and function B. Lovegrove; 10. Animal foraging and food W. Dean andS. Milton;

Part III . Dynamics P. Novellie: 11. Population-level dynamics S. Milton, R. Davies and G. Kerley; 12. Community patterns and dynamics A. Palmer, P. Novellie and J. Lloyd; 13. Modelling populations and community dynamics in Karoo ecosystems K. Kellner and J. Booysen; 14. Spatially explicit computer simulation models - tools for understanding vegetation dynamics and supporting rangeland management F. Jeltsch, T. Wiegand and C. Wissel; Part IV. Human Impacts W. Siegfried: 15. Hunters and herders in the Karoo landscape A. Smith; 16. Historial and contemporary land use and the desertification of the Karoo M. Hoffman, B. Cousins, T. Meyer, A. Petersen and H. Hendricks; 17. Alien plant invaders of the Karoo: attributes, impacts and control S. Milton, H. Zimmerman and J. Hoffman; 18. Comparison of ecosystem processes in the Nama Karoo and other deserts W. Whitford; 18. The Succulent Karoo in a global context: plant structural and functional concepts comparison with North American winter rainfall deserts K. Esler, P. Rundel and R. Cowling; 20. The Karoo: past and present S. Milton and W. Dean;



Click to read reviews of this book    1