The succulent and Nama-karoo form part of the arid south-western zone of Africa, a vast region of rugged landscapes and low treeless vegetation. Studies of this unique biome have yielded fascinating insights into the ecology of its flora and fauna. This book, originally published in 1999, is the first to synthesise these studies, presenting information on biogeographic patterns and life processes, form and function of animals and plants, foraging ecology, landscape-level dynamics and anthropogenic influences. Detailed analyses of the factors distinguishing the biota of the Karoo from that of other temperate deserts are given and generalisations about semi-arid ecosystems challenged. The ideas expounded, the ecological principles reviewed, and the results presented are relevant to all those working in the extensive arid and semi-arid regions of the world.