Biological diversity or Biodiversity is the variety of life around us – life of all kinds, from the largest animal to the smallest plant. Its complexity is measured in terms of variations at genetic, species, and ecosystem levels.
South Africa’s biodiversity is of the highest in the world! Our country’s geology and topography – its mountains, plateaux and coastal plains – result in a wide range of soils and climates, constituting as variety of habitats which support a high number of plant and animal species. There are about 240 species of mammals, more than 700 species of birds, almost 500 species of reptiles and amphibians and 630 species of butterflies, besides countless other animals.
Biodiversity plays a critical role in meeting human needs directly while maintaining the ecological processes upon which our survival depends. Biodiversity is the biological and social capital which supports all our lives. It is vital for our survival and is a key measure of the health of our planet.
The Western Cape’s biodiversity is in a constant state of flux as it responds to natural forces and human activity. Our biodiversity and vast natural resources are under threat from global warming, pollution and escalating development.