egos of the elephant experts than it does for biotic diversity, which is centered on less exciting communities of montane forests, Mediterranean heathlands, wetlands, lakes, and rivers.

  • The analysis of the level of protection afforded mapped vegetation types is a valuable first approximation to evaluating the effectiveness of existing protected area systems. But attention must also be directed to centers of species richness and endemism and to sites of threatened species, which are seldom reflected in vegetation maps. RDBs of threatened plants, animals, and habitats are of considerable value in stimulating interest at a national level in issues of biodiversity conservation.

  • The existence of highly sophisticated environmental monitoring systems in several African states offers experience and expertise to other countries that require simple but effective approaches to monitoring biodiversity.

  • Expert systems based on the synthesis of available ecological principles and local knowledge offer tremendous potential in the development of objective decision rules for identifying conservation priorities in areas and on topics with limited expertise or data. With very few exceptions, knowledge of biotic conservation needs and priorities far exceeds the ability of African governments to implement conservation action plans.

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Brooke, R.K. 1984. South African Red Data Book—Birds. South African National Scientific Programmes Report. No. 97. Foundation for Research Development, Council for Scientific and Industrial Research, Pretoria, South Africa. 213 pp.


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Cumming, D.H.M. 1984. Toward establishing priorities for funding and other international support for protected areas in Africa. Pp. 108–111 in Proceedings of the Twenty-Second Working Session of the Commission on National Parks and Protected Areas, Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe, 22–27 May, 1983. International Union for the Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources, Gland, Switzerland.


Gibbs Russell, G.E. 1985. Analysis of the size and composition of the southern African flora. Bothalia 15:613–629.

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Hockey, P.A.R., and A.A.Ferrar. 1985. Guidelines for the Bird Atlas of Southern Africa.



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