The southern Namib is characterized by high biodiversity, changes in winter and summer rainfall, extreme climatic conditions and associated geomorphologic processes, a paucity of ecological knowledge, and multiple environmental threats posed by conflicting development options. With the long-term view to establish a research initiative focussing on restoration ecology in the southern Namib Desert, this article provides a review of current ecological knowledge and proposes potential research priorities. The aims of a research initiative would be two-fold. On the academic side, understanding processes operating at different scales will be critical to develop methods of ecological restoration suitable for southern Namib ecosystems. On the practical side, the development of appropriate methods will focus on facilitating ecological processes such as restoration of biologically active substrate, natural succession, and concentration of limited resources. The function of landscapes, plant-soil interface, soil-, vegetation- and plant population dynamics will likely provide some of the answers for ecological restoration.
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Vol. 30 • No. 1