Subtropical Thicket was formerly classified as a type of savanna but has since been classified as a separate biome. The large diversity of animals is associated with the rich plant diversity.
Grassland is defined as those areas where grasses dominate the vegetation and where woody plants are absent or rare. They occupy 24,1% of the country's surface area. Most grassland occurs in high-rainfall areas, where thunderstorms and hail are common in summer and frost is common in winter.
Fynbos occupies 5,3 % of South Africa with its complement of at least 8 578 species of flowering plants. It is recognised supporting one of the most diverse and distinctive floras in the world. All in all, 5 832 or 68 % of the plant species are endemic. Many of the fynbos plant species are restricted to extremely small distribution ranges, a fact which has rendered them dangerously susceptible to extinction.
The Nama-Karoo covers most of the vast central plateau region of the Western and Northern Cape Provinces. The area forms an ecotone or transition between the Cape flora to the south, and the tropical savanna in the north. Many of the plant species of the Nama-Karoo also occur in the savanna, grassland, succulent Karoo and fynbos biomes.
The forests of South Africa include the indigenous evergreen and semi-deciduous closed forests of the coastal lowlands and escarpment slopes and cover only about 0.25% of the land area.
South Africa has five major coastal types that need protection, namely rocky shores, sandy shores, offshore, soft sediments and estuaries. All of these are represented in the AENP marine protected area.
The term "wetlands" groups together a wide range of inland and coastal habitats - from mountain sponges and midland marshes to swamp forests and estuaries - linked by rivers and streams. These wetlands share common and important functions in river catchments by providing a regular water supply, by filtering the water naturally, by reducing the effects of floods and droughts, and by providing a vital wildlife habitat and superb recreational areas for people.