Home EntertainmentArts-Books Namibia: Free E-Book Field Guide Unlocks Sperrgebiet’s Rich Plant Diversity

Namibia: Free E-Book Field Guide Unlocks Sperrgebiet’s Rich Plant Diversity

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A digital guide on the endemic plants of the Tsau //Kheib National Park, the former Sperrgebiet, was published earlier this year by expert xerophytic botanist, Dr Antje Burke in digital format.

Illustrated throughout with colour photographs and sketches, the guide targets a lay audience, but borrows extensively from Dr Burke’s scientific work. It is the first botanical field guide in e-format.

A paper in the Namibian Journal of Environment provides the scientific underpinning of this work and the four accompanying posters are available on the Environmental Information Service.

The uniqueness of this uninterrupted biome lies in the fact that it was the Sperrgebiet – German for an area where entry is prohibited – for the better part of one hundred years. This means humans had no impact on the larger environment and the area is completely free of domesticated animals, save for the small herd of feral horses in the park’s north-eastern corner.

“The park has not only the highest plant diversity among Namibia’s parks but also the highest number of plant species which only occur there and nowhere else on earth. These endemic species deserve particular attention because of their limited geographical range and numbers. Many are restricted to very special habitats within their already limited range. Any mining, infrastructure, tourism or other developments need to take this into account,” stated Dr Burke.

Citing the reason for publishing the field guide she said “Due to the high plant diversity in the park overall, most endemics are not easy to recognise,” adding that some 30 species are endemic and special care must be taken that they are not compromised by inconsiderate developments.