Trees and Shrubs
About 1700 tree species are native to Southern Africa; well over 100 more exotic tree species have become naturalised in the region. Gauteng falls within the Grassland Biome, with a small section in northern Gauteng falling into the Savanna (Bushveld) Biome. However, over time, large portions of the original vegetation have been modified due to urbanisation.
South Africa has an incredible variety of organisms. This is because we have so many different ecosystems: the Grasslands of the Highveld; the Vynbos of the Cape; the forests of KwaZulu-Natal; and many more. Each of these unique ecosystems is made up of various habitats which encompass multiple complex communities of plants and animals.
Gauteng is often considered the business central of South Africa and for good reason. Rapid development in this relatively small province has led to the destruction of large areas of natural habitat and will continue to do so unless measures are taken to ensure positive development while preserving biodiversity.
Trees are extremely important to all forms of life and have many uses essential to humanity. Trees and plants are the lungs of our world because they convert carbon dioxide into oxygen; they filter the air of pollutants; they provide excellent shelter for many animals; they are used as nesting sites for many species; they provide food in the form of fruit; they feed the soil with their wood and leaves; their wood is used for manufacturing of numerous products; and they provide excellent burning material for heat, light and industry. They are also aesthetically pleasing and are used in many different landscaping designs.
Every tree species is unique and offers different benefits to an ecosystem. Variety is the “spice of life” and this can be applied to vegetation. The more tree and plant species that occur within an ecosystem, the greater its value is to the organisms which inhabit the area. This is referred to as heterogeneity and is fundamental to animal biodiversity.
If you have seen a species in the area that is not on the list please contact me so I can add it. Please be aware that if the species you saw is unusual or out of range I will need a photo as verification before I can add it to the list.