Botanical survey doubles the known flora of Lunda Norte, Angola

A rapid survey of three river catchments in a remote area of Angola has provided reasons for their designation under the Angolan Protected Areas Expansion Strategy.

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21 Nov 2011

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Wet grassland in Lunda Norte, Angola

Wet grassland in Lunda Norte, Angola - a habitat found to contain rare or endemic species by the survey work (Image: D. Goyder).

In late April and early May 2011, Kew’s Drylands Africa team was invited to make a rapid botanical survey of the remote Lagoa Carumbo region of Lunda Norte Province, north-eastern Angola, in collaboration with staff from the Agostinho Neto University, Luanda and the Angolan Ministério do Ambiente.

Micargeriella aphylla with typical mud termitarium species
Micargeriella aphylla (known only from this collection and the type in north-western Zambia) growing next to a typical mud termitarium (Image: D. Goyder)

Known flora doubled

The collections made by this expedition combined with historic data and specimens in the Kew herbarium revealed 537 species, subspecies and varieties, more than doubling the known flora of the region. The three river valleys surveyed have largely intact ecosystems undamaged by commercial diamond extraction, with plateau grasslands on deep, heavily leached Kalahari sand deposits interdigitating with Guineo-Congolian riverine forests, where the rivers have cut through to the base of the Kalahari sands. Both of these habitats, together with seasonally wet grasslands surrounding the lake, contain many species restricted in Angola to this region and several rare or endemic species of very restricted range.

Survey supports conservation strategy

Data from this survey, together with reports on bird and animal diversity, were compiled to provide evidence supporting the formal designation of these river catchments under the Angolan Protected Areas Expansion Strategy, which was ratified by the Council of Ministers during the team’s visit. Other sites across the country will be surveyed over the next few years.

Item from David Goyder (Taxonomic Botanist, RBG Kew)
Kew Scientist 40 (autumn 2011)


More on this story

Kew Science Directory - Assessing Plant Conservation Priorities in Angola

Background

Flora of Angola Online

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