Original Research

Guiding conservation efforts in the Hantam–Tanqua–Roggeveld (South Africa) using diversity parameters

Helga van der Merwe, Margaretha W. van Rooyen
Koedoe | Vol 53, No 1 | a1018 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/koedoe.v53i1.1018 | © 2011 Helga van der Merwe, Margaretha W. van Rooyen | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 10 August 2010 | Published: 15 September 2011

About the author(s)

Helga van der Merwe, Department of Plant Science, University of Pretoria, South Africa
Margaretha W. van Rooyen, Department of Plant Science, University of Pretoria, South Africa


The Hantam–Tanqua–Roggeveld subregion falls within the Succulent Karoo and Fynbos Biomes, which are both recognised as global biodiversity hotspots that should be conserved. The objective of this study was to gather baseline biodiversity information that can be used to guide conservation efforts. A total of 40 Whittaker plots were surveyed in the subregion and the various diversity parameters calculated from the data were compared across the subregion and to available data for the Succulent Karoo and Fynbos Biomes. Species richness per 1000 m2 ranged from nine to 100 species across the subregion. Species richness for all plot sizes < 1000 m2 was significantly lower for the Tanqua Karoo than for both the Winter Rainfall Karoo and Mountain Renosterveld. The latter two areas did not differ significantly from each other with regard to species richness. Species richness was significantly higher only at the 1000 m2 scale in the Mountain Renosterveld compared to the Winter Rainfall Karoo. Evenness and Shannon and Simpson indices did not differ significantly between the Mountain Renosterveld and Winter Rainfall Karoo; however, these values were significantly higher than for the Tanqua Karoo.

A principal coordinate analysis of species richness data at seven plot sizes produced three distinct clusters. One cluster represented the Tanqua Karoo, with low species richness, evenness, and Shannon and Simpson indices. Another cluster represented mostly Mountain Renosterveld vegetation, which was characterised by a high species richness, evenness, and Shannon and Simpson indices. The third cluster was formed by the remaining Mountain Renosterveld plots as well as the Winter Rainfall Karoo plots.

The high species richness values found in the various vegetation units can add valuable information to the conservation planning arena by providing information on biodiversity parameters and their spatial distribution. This information can assist with conservation efforts in the Hantam, Tanqua and Roggeveld areas.

Conservation implications: Conservation and development of the Hantam–Tanqua– Roggeveld subregion is hampered by a lack of information on floristic diversity. The results of the current study indicated areas of low diversity and contrasting areas of high diversity. These data can be used to guide effective conservation and management of the floristic diversity.


Shannon index; Simpson index; species evenness; species richness; Whittaker plots


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Crossref Citations

1. Patterns of plant species richness and growth form diversity in critical habitats of the Nama-Karoo Biome, South Africa
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