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Freshwater biodiversity

Stream along the Tsitsikamma Hiking Trail. [photo H. Robertson, Iziko ]

Gamkarivier, Gamkaskloof, Western Cape. [photo H. Robertson, Iziko ]

Freshwater is a great limiting factor within southern Africa. Most of the region is arid and many rivers and lakes are ephemeral in nature. Some organisms are specially adapted to these ephemeral systems, being able to go into aestivation during the dry periods. However, there are also substantial perennial rivers, streams and lakes as well as man-made dams, and these systems yield a rich array of organisms. Disruption of the ecology of the organisms in these systems through pollution, siltation or nutrient loading, can have a devastating effect on the health of these systems, which impacts directly on supply of freshwater to human populations. 

 


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