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Encompassing the Namib and Kalahari deserts, the southern African country of Namibia is one of the least densely populated countries in the world and receives less rainfall than any other country in sub-Saharan Africa.

Its ancient and intensely arid Namib Desert is home to diverse habitats, from coastal wetlands and expansive gravel plains, to sand dunes and rocky outcrops such as the Erongo Mountains. Together these habitats support a high level of biodiversity, including globally threatened plant, invertebrate, reptile and mammal species, as well as many endemic species (unique species found nowhere else in the world).

However, the Namib Desert is also home to rich mineral deposits, including some of the largest uranium deposits in the world. As a result, the region has experienced a “Uranium Rush” of exploration and mining activity in recent years, which in turn has contributed to the rapid expansion of coastal towns and other developments.

From 2011 to 2012, Fauna & Flora International (FFI) led a collaborative landscape-level assessment with the Namibian Ministry of Mining & Energy and the Ministry of Environment and Tourism to minimise the impacts of the country’s burgeoning uranium mining industry. The assessment supported a better understanding of biodiversity vulnerability and landuses in the Central Namib Desert and identified features within the landscape that needed particular protection or management.

Collectively, the outputs from this approach have acted as a decision support tool used to guide land-use planning and help decision makers understand the relative importance of biodiversity and ecological processes across the landscape.

Take a closer look

Landscape level assessment for the Central Namib Desert

Namibia - Credit David Wright, FFI

The southern African country of Namibia has been high on Fauna & Flora International’s (FFI) agenda since early 2007. Both Pippa Howard and Dave Wright from FFI’s Business & Biodiversity programme have written lauding the dramatic beauty and high level of biodiversity of the Namib Desert’s varying landscapes. In these blog posts, they also outline some of the challenges to the long-term sustainability of the Central Namib in the light of short-term developments such as uranium mining. All those who…

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