Succulent Karoo

Stretching along the Atlantic coast of Africa, from southwestern South Africa into southern Namibia, the Succulent Karoo Hotspot covers 116,000 square kilometers of desert. It boasts the world's richest succulent flora, as well as high reptile and invertebrate diversity.

The hotspot is vulnerable to several land use pressures, particularly overgrazing on communal lands, ostrich farming in the southeast, mining, and the illegal collection of plants and animals for trade. Climate change is expected to have a serious impact on the region's biodiversity.

The Critical Ecosystem Partnership Fund (CEPF) strategy for this hotspot is based on the results of the Succulent Karoo Ecosystem Planning (SKEP) process. Conservation International's Southern Africa Hotspots Program facilitated this comprehensive and participative process as part of CEPF preparations to expand to the hotspot.

SKEP, which means "to serve" or "to create" in Afrikaans (the predominant language in the hotspot), involved more than 60 scientific experts and over 400 local stakeholders representing government, academia, nongovernmental organizations, private sector interests, and local communities. SKEP developed an overarching framework for biodiversity conservation and sustainable development in the hotspot.

The CEPF strategy focuses on catalyzing key activities in under-funded priority areas by involving specific land users such as the agricultural sector, mining companies, and communal authorities.

Six strategic directions guide CEPF's approach in the Succulent Karoo:
  1. expand protected area corridors through public-private-communal partnerships in the priority areas of Bushmanland Inselbergs, Central Namaqualand Coast, Namaqualand Uplands, Knersvlakte, Hantam-Roggeveld, Central Little Karoo, and Sperrgebiet
  2. engage key industrial sectors in meeting conservation objectives identified by SKEP
  3. retain and restore critical biodiversity in areas under greatest land-use pressure
  4. mainstream conservation priorities into land-use planning and policymaking
  5. increase awareness of the Succulent Karoo Hotspot
  6. create the capacity to catalyze the SKEP program

Succulent Karoo

Investment Priorities
Full Strategy
Project Database for this Region