Status and Trends of Biodiversity
The exceptional biodiversity in Angola is due to the combination of a number of factors: the vast size of the country, its inter-tropical geographical location, the altitude variation, the biome types, and its 1,650 km-long coastline. Bio-climatic zones range from dense tropical forests to deserts. Of the estimated 5.000 plant species that are believed to exist in the country (without mentioning the vast floral wealth of Cabinda Province), 1.260 are endemic – making Angola the second richest country in Africa in terms of endemic plants. The diversity of mammals is also one of the richest on the continent, with 275 recorded species. About 92% of the avifauna of southern Africa occurs in Angola, with 872 catalogued species. Angola is also an important center of marine biodiversity and a productive area in fish resources. Wide estuaries such as those of the Congo, Dande, Cuanza and Cunene rivers are the basis for the intrinsic network of species and support important food chains that are essential to the livelihood of the population. Mangroves occur along the Angolan coastline and constitute transition ecosystems of important biological and ecological importance, providing harbour and nurseries for crustaceans and fish of economic and tourist importance to the country. Preliminary studies indicate that about 120 plant species are listed on the endangered plants, many of them occurring in protected areas. Trees such as the Avicenia and Combretum that are important in the vegetation that protects the Angolan coast are also listed as highly endangered species. Animal species such as the cheetah, brown hyenas, African wild dog, black rhinoceros, mountain and plain zebras, giraffe and oryx are considered as extinct and/or very vulnerable in parts of the Angolan territory, where they hitherto were abundant. Various other species are also facing extinction due to pressure from anthropogenic activities. Threats to biodiversity include uncontrolled bush burning, poaching, logging, and illegal trade in animals.
Number and Extent of Protected Areas
About 6.6% of the national territory is earmarked for conservation and incorporate areas of the majority of the different biomes, except for the Tropical Forest. There are 6 National Parks, 1 Regional Park, 6 reserves, and 6 game reserves.