State of Biodiversity: Western Cape Province, South Africa. Amphibians and Reptiles
de Villiers, A.L.
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The six floristic biomes in the Western Cape Province (W.C.P.), namely the Fynbos, Afromontane Forest, Thicket, Grassland, Nama and Succulent Karoo Biomes (Low and Rebelo, 1996), are not only diverse with regard to the variety of plant species and communities occurring there, but also contain a wide diversity of animal species, biogeographical zones, landscapes and natural features, both within the terrestrial and aquatic (freshwater and marine) context. In addition to the topographical diversity of the Cape Fold Mountains, the coastal zone and lowlands, and their transition into surrounding habitats, the W.C.P. experiences a wide climatic diversity too. These features have resulted in an extensive and complex diversity of habitat types which partly explain the rich biological diversity within the W.C.P. Past climatic changes on a global scale have also influenced ecological systems and processes within the W.C.P. to the extent where it is believed that vicariant speciation processes and events during global climatic changes have resulted in evolutionary driving forces that have had significant impacts on the biodiversity within the biogeographical boundaries of the W.C.P. (Vrba, 1985).