Diversity and endemism of geoxylic plants on the Angolan Planalto
Keywords:Angola, Angolan Planalto, diversity, endemism, geoxyles, highlands, suffrutices
The Angolan Planalto and adjacent areas are characterised by flammable grassy ecosystems. Within these old-growth grasslands, geoxyles are a dominant component and play a key role in the functioning, diversity and beauty of these ecosystems. Geoxyles are a plant life form characterised by having low aboveground biomass and massive belowground wooden structures from which they can draw stored reserves and resprout quickly after disturbances such as fire. The Angolan Planalto has a high number of geoxyle taxa of which many are endemic to the area. We give an overview of the number of geoxyle taxa in these highlands based on a compilation of all available data, discuss reasons for this remarkable diversity, and point out research and conservation priorities for this important life form that is threatened by upcoming land-use changes.
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