Ninety scientific institutions led by the South African National Biodiversity Institute have released a shock report that unveils waves of unprecedented climate impacts tearing across South Africa's globally important wild assets.
South Africa's first national biodiversity assessment in nearly a decade represents the findings of leading institutions such as the South African National Biodiversity Institute (SANBI) and the CSIR, and the contributions of 470 scientific and conservation professionals.
The vastly varied ecosystems within South Africa's borders and coastal waters, the assessment notes, hosts such exceptional species richness that the country ranks among Earth's top 10 "megadiverse" nations.
Much of South Africa's terrestrial, inland aquatic, estuarine and marine realms -- the key areas featuring in the assessment -- have evolved to provide niche support to an ecological heritage that exists only at the foot of the African continent. According to the assessment, this remarkable web of life delivers Earth's second-highest rate of unique wildlife issuing from an ark of nearly 70,000 animal species.
Some 80% of nearly 500 terrestrial ecosystem types are endemic: in a word, unmatched in the living record. Half the country's reptile, amphibian, butterfly and freshwater fish species are also endemic. It also presides over more than 8,000...