Vegetation survey of the Khomas Hochland in central-western Namibia: syntaxonomical descriptions




Damara Orogen, Great Escarpment, highland savanna, modified TWINSPAN, Namib, phytosociology


Background: The Great Escarpment of southern Africa takes the form of an extended mountainous highland in central-western Namibia, commonly referred to as the ‘Khomas Hochland’. It is regarded as an area of high botanical diversity. Yet only few localised studies on the vegetation composition are available. The Khomas Hochland is formed on the southern part of the Damara Orogen and dominated by metamorphosed sediments. Climatically it forms a transition between the hot desert of the Namib and the slightly cooler hot steppe in the inland.
Objectives: To classify and provide syntaxonomical descriptions of the vegetation of the Khomas Hochland.
Methods: A dataset comprising 1151 relevés and 914 species was compiled from various surveys, mostly collected under, and to the standards of, the umbrella project ‘Vegetation Survey of Namibia’. For first classifications, the data set was reduced to a synusial set consisting of trees, shrubs, dwarf shrubs and grasses only.
Results: The classification resulted in four major landscape units, being the Pre-Namib and Escarpment zone, the Khomas Hochland proper, riverine habitats as well as surrounding lowlands. The classification was further refined using Cocktail procedures to produce 30 associations, one with four sub-associations. These are described in this paper.
Conclusion: A classification of synoptic data grouped the associations into five orders and one undefined cluster of associations on specialised desert habitats. Four of these orders correspond to the habitat types identified in the first classification. The fifth order, the Senegalio hereroensisTarchonanthoetalia camphorathi, represents high mountains of the central Khomas Hochland, which link biogeographically to the grassland biome in South Africa.


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Strohbach, B. . (2021). Vegetation survey of the Khomas Hochland in central-western Namibia: syntaxonomical descriptions. Bothalia, African Biodiversity & Conservation, 51(2).



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